Control yourself - not others.Typically, a lot of anxiety starts to build up in you this time of year. If your major gift portfolio is like those of most of your colleagues, anywhere from 60-80% of your revenue comes in during the last three months of the year.
That brings on a lot of pressure to perform, and to do it all.
Let me tell you something right off: in major gift fundraising, it’s never enough.
This statement is not to depress you, it’s to relieve you of the burden that somehow you are the only one that has to make it happen.
To work as a major gift fundraiser over a long period of time, you have to know that you can only do so much. The rest is up to the donor. Richard and I have worked with too many major gift fundraisers who burn out quickly because they drive themselves into the ground trying to chase the money, focus only on revenue goals and stay that extra hour.
Richard and I want you to stay in this profession a long time. We don’t want you to burn out. We want you to have joy in your work. Not only is that good for you, but it’s good for your donors.
We want you to be grounded.
To be grounded in this profession, especially as it nears the end of the year giving period, it all starts with stepping back and reviewing your plan for each of your donors.
That plan is your guide to focus yourself. That plan, when implemented, will allow you to know that you have done all you can, to help a donor find joy in their giving.
I cannot stress enough, how having a plan and working that plan will save you from being stressed out and anxious. I have seen too many MGOs who don’t have a plan – they are unfocused, they can’t sleep at night, and they worry they won’t make their revenue goals.
They can’t even enjoy the holidays because they are so stressed out.
As a major gift fundraiser, all you can do is work your plan. That plan should be designed to engage your donor, deepen the relationship, understand their passions and interests, and solicit that donor, inspiring them to give based on those passions and interests.
If you do that, the rest is out of your hands and not in your control. Did you hear that? When you work in a profession that gets intimately involved with other human beings, you can only control what you do. Your donors may have other plans.
But I can tell you this. Of the hundreds of major gift officers that we have worked with over the years, those fundraisers who have worked their plans always seem to make their revenue goals. Some of their donors might give less than they expected, but others give much more.
It always seems to work out that way.
This is why those major gift fundraisers who create revenue goals and a strategic plan for every donor are much less stressed out than MGOs who don’t. (Tweet it!)
Be grounded this last quarter of the year. Work your plan, and know that this is all you can do. The rest will take care of itself.