You’ve probably heard it before…life is a marathon, not a sprint. Well the same holds true in the fundraising world.

Except when it doesn’t.

Nope, the few short weeks of November and December is when it is time to put your game face on and just go for it.

You have seven weeks to reach your fundraising goals, meet those membership objectives, and secure financial commitments for next year.

Now, before you shut off your computer to go running through the office screaming the sky is falling, let me share with you some good news.

You have enough time for fundraising. You can do this. As long as you get out of your own way.

Here are some tips for staying focused and avoiding the year-end fundraising overwhelm.

1. Do only those tasks that will bring in the dollars (whether immediately or in the long run). You may be tempted to get “organized” first. I mean, with so much to do, why waste time looks for files on a messy desk, right? Wasting an afternoon cleaning up your office is like straightening your home as the floodwaters rise. It’s a complete procrastination tactic and you ain’t got time for that.

2. Concentrate your time on those donors that can bring the most support to the organization. If you could spend 4 hours on any one fundraising task, which would you choose: connecting with 5 donors that could end up donating $100,000 over 5 years or mailing letters to 2,000 donors that will give once or twice for a total of $5,000? Guess which item most people do? One is easier (and safer) because you get to sit behind your computer, stuff envelopes, and then drop them in the mail. Done. The other takes time, connection, commitment, relationships, and actually asking for money. But look at the rewards you can reap.

3. Connect with your clients. With so much going on, you may forget why you are working so hard when everyone else is out partying and shopping. Take some time to visit the front lines of your organization to remind yourself why you are so passionate about your job.

4. Take great care of yourself. You will be tempted to work 16-hour days, take work home, skip lunch, avoid friends, and pretty much sacrifice yourself for your job. Please don’t. It’s like the flight attendants tell you, put the oxygen mask on yourself first, then on those around you. You can be the best fundraiser you can be if you are exhausted, cranky, stressed, and on edge. No, you get to take relaxing lunches with friends away from the office, pamper yourself with massages, take long refreshing walks, and get lots of sleep. It may seem counterintuitive, but trust me, this is a must.

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