This is my 25th year as a fundraiser! Over that time there I’ve gathered some working habits that you might find useful. Here are my top 10 tips.
1. Always start the day in a cafe away from the distractions of what’s on your desk or email. Stop and ask what do I need to progress today to achieve your goals? Write it down – I use a tiny diary as there are only so many tasks you can do in a day. Tick the tasks off as you do them that day. Review it the following morning.
2. Be mobile – be comfortable about using a mobile phone to engage people whatever the arrangement is with your work (your phone, their phone). I find people are much more likely to take a call from a mobile than an office phone. Have it on your business card. It also enables people to reach you when they need to.
3. Do regular exercise. It will help you cope with what ever stress work and fundraising throws at you. It will enable you to have insights. It will give you energy even though it uses it.
4. Log business cards and leads straight away. Worse case clip them to a form and write what you need added on your database including follow up actions.
5. Go with your instinct. It’s the sum total of your experience. Find out what physical signals you get when your instinct kicks in and is trying to tell you stop and take attention (mine is the hair on the back of the neck).
6. Listen more than you speak – especially when meeting donors. That way the few words you say will be more relevant in response.
7. Learn from the best – find who has done what you want to do really well and then go ask them for advice. I’ve never been turned down. Then do it better.
8. Have a day a week to yourself – Use it for planning, writing proposal and reports, and making those essential phone calls (i.e. progressing the tasks you need to do) without the temptation of anyone distracting you.
9. Always turn up at least 30 mins before an external meeting and find out exactly where it is (the last 100 meters to a location can be the hardest to find). If you are in plenty of time is you can always go to cafe and prepare your thoughts or review your days tasks. If you find your journey has delays then that ‘spare’ 30 minutes will be priceless.
10. Don’t push the deadline – be 90% ready the week before. Your subconscious will continue working in the background and the detail you add with that final week will make all the difference to refine and finesse your proposal and take it from good to great.
What’s your top tip?