Fundraisers, are you struggling to recharge your passion?
Have you ever woken up and thought . . .
“I am lost and unmotivated.”
“I love this nonprofit and the mission, but I have lost the focus of why I am here.”
“I spend all my time trying to find money and have forgotten my why.”
“I used to be excited about coming to work.”
If you’ve thought about these, here are ways fundraisers like you can recharge the passion you once had.
How do you bring back the passion and motivation? Are there ways fundraisers can recharge passion?
I remember listening to a student share with a board member her story of living in her car, arriving early to campus to use the showers, and working several jobs to have food to eat. Her story reminded me of why I was so passionate about this nonprofit. Her determination ignited a passion in me that drove me to work harder for those who fought themselves out of bad situations.
As nonprofit leaders – executives and development directors, board members, volunteers – we are often so focused on the tasks at hand, especially fundraising, that we forget what drew us to the nonprofit in the first place.
People lose their way when they lose their why. ~ Gail Hyatt
Maybe you are at your nonprofit because you are the founder, volunteered in some capacity, served on the board, or benefited from a program, for example.
There are multiple reasons you landed in your leadership or fundraising position. If you are the fundraiser and you don’t approach a donor conversation with enthusiasm and enjoyment anymore, you likely have lost your why. And it’s time to get it back.
When you find yourself in the weeds and rushing through the day, checking things off your list, it’s time to step away from your desk to refocus and recharge.
Check this other article on How to Get Excited Everyday About Your Work.
Here are three ways to reconnect with your why, bring back your passion, and get motivated again:
1) What Attracted You to the Mission
Grab a pen and scratchpad and take no more than three minutes to write down the top three reasons that come to mind as to what attracted you or brought you to the position. Is it the mission? Is it one particular program that resonates with you? Is it the people or places being served? Identify why you are there and what you enjoy most about your job.
2) Connect with the Mission
Now, stop what you’re doing and connect with the people benefiting from your nonprofit. Ask them how their day is, how life differs from it was, what life looks like for them today. Your heart will be warmed. You now have new stories to share enthusiastically with your donors when you are on donor ask visits. Read more about Donor Ask Visits.
3) Remember You Are Not Alone
Overwhelm, exhaustion, and burnout are way too common in the nonprofit arena. But you must protect yourself. When you see it coming and feel the passion start to lag, take action to re-charge.
Sometimes you need a break.
Take one whole day off! Yes – one full day in which you don’t answer emails or calls from work. Set yourself up so you can do this. First, Identify the three to five immediate and top priorities. Now get laser-focused and do them. Don’t write them down and hope to complete them. Knock out those top priorities.
Next, look at your calendar for the next two weeks. Identify a full day to take off. Move meetings around and mark it on your calendar. Ask those around you to support you in taking a break.
On your day off, rest in a way that is most meaningful to you. That does not mean cleaning out a closet, answering personal emails, or filing a stack of papers. Consider sitting on the porch in your robe, snuggling up with your pet, and enjoying long sips of coffee with a brilliant sunrise. Personally, I favor a cold beer and a masterful sunset from my condo balcony! Find your refuge that day.
It is critical to set aside time to reset. You must be intentional and invest in self-care, in self-preservation. No one can take care of you better than you.
If you had one day off all to yourself to recharge, how would you spend it?
If you’re ready to get back into the game, here’s a good to-do list as a development director: A Development Director’s First 100 Days.
Nancy Rieves, Ed.D. is a fundraising coach. She provides overwhelmed nonprofit leaders of small organizations with a roadmap to maximize and sustain major gift fundraising. She prepares leaders to be confident and successful in raising money. Reach her at [email protected].
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