Fundraising professionals, are you burned out from too many holiday parties, cheese platters, cheap wine, and endless networking? Did the board ask you to hold "just one more holiday party" this year? Does "holiday cheer" start to sound like "holiday torture" around now? If that's the case, you're suffering from EFS - Extreme Fundraising Stress. This malady occurs most frequently at the end of the year, when you and every other fundraising professional and nonprofit executive are driving the bulk of their annual appeals and special events. If EFS is getting you down, it's time to use the Bristol Strategy Group SMART Tips for a stress-free and productive holiday season:
Have you ever asked yourself "where can I find donors?" Many nonprofit executives tell me they don’t know how to “find” donors. The "finding" problem keeps them awake at night. They worry about it, their boards worry about it, their staff worries about it. Eventually, all that worrying can produce desperation moves such as foregoing the executive director's salary or health benefits, sending out un-researched grant applications in bulk, or throwing yet another event.
Quick, boys and girls!! What's the least understood function in the nonprofit world? One, two, three - it's fundraising! Dan Pallotta calls it "the black sheep of the fundraising sector." Nonprofits brag about how little they spend on it. Executive directors complain about it (or at least their lack of results). And boards of directors make demands and expect miracles from the fundraising department, always with the best of intentions, but not necessarily with awareness of costs or other constraints.
When you're fundraising, are you in charge or is your prospect? It might surprise you to know that lots of people who raise money (or are supposed to, anyway) are crippled by "Ask Reluctance." And one reason is that they let their prospective funders be in charge of the process.