How do you start your development day?
I’m not a morning person. I’ve never been a morning person. One of the first things I do is get the coffee going before I start my development day and jump into Zoom meetings and calls.
I’m always looking for ways to start my development day and improve my effectiveness at work, to be more organized, and to be disciplined about using my time. If you have similar goals, here are some tips to start your development day and avoid pitfalls that slow you down.
Improve your donor relationships and communication
It’s easy to get bogged down checking email and reliving that last board meeting, but are you actively taking time to improve your donor relationships? Do you get trapped into answering emails and responding to all the requests that come at you each day? Take time to set your priorities for the day? Set aside time to contact your top donors? Investing time and effort in better relationships and communication with your donors is a great way to make a big impact with a small investment of time.
Make an impact where it matters
Here are 7 tips to start your development day by setting priorities and making an impact where it matters.
Reflect: What are your first steps for today? Set a new goal of doing three important things to help start your day right. It could be eating a good breakfast, taking a walk, and hugging your kids. Spending the first hour of your day doing these 3 priorities is a great investment in your well-being and mental stamina, which has a positive effect on your work.
Focus: Spend the first portion of your day focusing on your donors. Without donors and their support, your charity would not exist. Resist the temptation to get sidetracked on checking email and social media accounts.
Set Priorities: Not everything on your To Do list can be priority #1. You can’t have two #1s. Use a free tool like Trello to organize and prioritize your tasks and To Do lists. Invite coworkers to use Trello so everyone understands the To Do list priorities and timeline.
Thank: What are you grateful for today? As you start the day, focus on being thankful for the people and pets that mean the most, from your family and close friends to your neighbors and work colleagues. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude about your blessings will help boost your mood and improve your fundraising work. How can you authentically thank donors and express gratitude if you don’t feel grateful in your everyday life?
Share: Pick up the phone and call 2 donors, expressing your thanks for them and their continued support. If you feel more comfortable writing, write a short personal note or email. Include a photo that demonstrates the impact their gift has made.
Visualize: Break down the day into 3 achievable goals that you hope to accomplish. They may be big ones like “finish the $50,000 grant” or small ones like “email that board member I need to contact.” Pick 3 and write them down where you can see & refer to them.
Destress: Take a few deep breaths, stand, and stretch. A little movement helps clear your mind and relax your body. Sitting in the same position for too long can put stress on your back and neck.
Celebrate your small wins
Congratulations! You’ve set your priorities, you’re having a great start to the day, and your donors will appreciate the meaningful conversation and sincere gratitude. Celebrate those small wins.