First off, no, you can’t do it all. You shouldn’t have that kind of ongoing pressure on you as you navigate being a front-line fundraiser. However, we believe that with proper planning, expectations, and tenacity, you can succeed at managing more than one thing at a time.
What am I talking about?
Recently in one of our peer calls at the Veritus Group Academy, one of the participants lamented that while she was really excited about the system and structure of The Veritus Way, she was finding it almost impossible to implement a new system AND do her job.
I get it. It can be overwhelming to want to make change, but then you feel bogged down by the old way of doing things and you never get to the change you actually want to make, which makes it feel even worse.
At Veritus, part of our mission is to come alongside you to help you in your journey as a front-line fundraiser and to give you the tools you need to do your work more effectively. So, here’s some advice to help you implement The Veritus Way AND get your work done.
Before I get into the steps, take a moment to remember that implementing all of the systems and structures we’ve been writing about (The Veritus Way) takes time. The qualification for major gifts and the introductory process for mid-level alone can take up to 10 months. It can feel very daunting to think you need to implement everything right now. So, keep your timing in perspective and realize this is a journey. In other words, keep your eyes on the prize!
The first step is to assess where you are presently. Some questions to start with:
- Do you already have a caseload?
- If so, how many donors on that caseload actually belong there? (Do they meet your criteria? Are they qualified? etc.)
- What clean-up do you need to do, like moving donors off the caseload, creating protocols, and cleaning up tags in the data?
Next, set up a time to create a plan and set expectations with your supervisor. Don’t do this on your own. You really want to include your manager in this process. You need buy-in or else your efforts may be unintentionally thwarted. Your supervisor is key to provide you with support and a place of accountability when you get started.
Now that you have support and you know where you are starting from, what should you prioritize as you’re implementing The Veritus Way?
- Current caseload — If you have some qualified donors in your caseload, spend time filling in KNOWN touch points in your 12-month plan for them.
- Caseload pools — Start identifying your qualification pool and figure out the target number you need to fill your caseload. Click here for more help on how to figure this out. Begin the qualification process in a manageable way. You don’t need to send out 50 qualification letters when you start this. You’ll be going nuts trying to follow up. Remember there are 7 steps to qualifying a donor and you don’t want it to overwhelm you. Start with 5 intro letters per week. Ease into it.
- Live out the core principles — The Veritus Way has some core principles that don’t require systems change. You can begin by pursuing your donor’s interests and passions. Thank donors properly, have more permission-based conversations with your donors, and report back on the impact of their gifts without creating a major structural change to your work.
- Have grace and patience — You already have a full-time job, and a change in structure does require additional work. It’s okay if things don’t go exactly to plan. Even if you need to adjust your approach. But this is where tenacity comes in… keep chipping away at it and make sure to focus on shifting your mindset and approach. That will impact the structural pieces of The Veritus Way.
Here is the beautiful truth that Richard and I can promise you: Once you fully implement The Veritus Way, you will be happier in your work, you will have better relationships with your donors, and the results you achieve will be nothing like you’ve ever seen.
You don’t have to do it all, but you do need the mindset to stick with it a little at a time. Before you know it, you will have created a new way to do your work more effectively and help more donors find joy in their giving.