What is the secret to fundraising happiness?

A guest blog by Paul Nott.

Don’t celebrate the cheques coming in.

Or at least, don’t only celebrate that.

I believe one secret to fundraising happiness is to take a minute to work out your daily difference.

It’s a great shame that of the hundreds of fundraisers I speak to every month so many say that the only real buzz they feel is on the days the money comes in. The big cheque that arrives from a funder or the final amount totted up from an event is the only time they celebrate, congratulate and really feel they’ve achieved something.

But how often do those days happen? Depending on your income stream it could be just a few times a year.  I don’t think satisfaction a few times a year is good enough for people who change the world, do you?

It’s easy to forget that the cheques wouldn’t come in at all without all the other days of thinking, planning, writing, emailing, proof reading, phoning, meeting, asking and thanking, even if they feel less exciting. So it’s up to you to remind yourself.

So grab a calculator and work out your daily difference.

  • Take your personal annual income target (or your team’s target if you’re a manager)
  • Divide it by the number of days you will work in the coming year (252 working days in 2017 minus the number of annual leave days you receive)
  • Subtract your salary.

That amount is what you raise every working day.

Compare this figure to the ‘shopping list’ of outcomes you use for your supporters that says ‘for £x amount we can…’ and work out what impact that amount of money makes to your beneficiaries. If you work in a hospice, it could be a days salary for a nurse who treats a patient and gives their family welcome respite. If you support a helpline it may be twenty calls being answered that each change the future of the caller.

That’s the difference you are making today and that you’ll make tomorrow. Even on the days when you feel you haven’t achieved much at all. They are all contributing to making that difference.

It’s easy to remember to tell your supporters about the difference they make, to let them know that each donation isn’t just numbers on a page but actually has an impact on those who need it, but harder when you have a busy job with conflicting priorities to remember to tell yourself.

Why not set a recurring note on your phone for the end of each day to remind you of the difference you have made. Because the work you do is priceless.

Paul Nott is Principal Recruitment Consultant at NFP Consulting. When he’s not recruiting he is a career coach and advises charities on fundraising strategy and staff retention.

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