Last week, I shared why I think introverts make the BEST major gift fundraisers.
While our strengths lend themselves perfectly to major gift fundraising, we also need to be aware of how to effectively manage our energy, and protect ourselves from burnout.
Here’s three of the top danger zones to watch out for as an introverted fundraiser - and my road tested tricks to help you manage them.
1. Group activities can drain introverts
When I was in a major gift role in the healthcare sector, we had frequent evening events for donors, including dinners, tours, and talks.
While I always enjoyed those gatherings in the moment, I’d find myself dragging around the next morning, feeling like a zombie, while my more extroverted colleagues would bound in, all bright eyed and bushy tailed.
Introverts need down time to re-energize before and after events - and while it’s not always possible to have significant time off between events in our busy roles, you can build short breaks into your day to help you recharge.
Get outside if you can, even if you’re just taking a quick spin around the block. Take a coffee break and read a few pages of your favourite book. And skip the sad desk lunch!
2. Watch for over-scheduling
I’m a huge fan of batching, and use the practice regularly in my work.
If you’re new to the concept, the basic principle is this:
Since we humans are so bad at multitasking and context switching, the more we can group similar tasks or activities together, the more productive we’ll be.
My work often requires me to spend the better part of the day on calls doing stakeholder interviews for strategy projects, or intensive coaching sessions with clients.
I’ve learned that, to be at my best, I need to build in a buffer before and after meetings to process, gather my thoughts, and prepare for my next call.
Similarly, the common practice of stacking donor meetings back to back can really drain introverts.
If you don’t have a lot of control over your schedule, keep in mind that these don’t have to be huge blocks of time - with practice, even 15 minutes of buffer time can give you the breathing room you need to regroup.
3. Be purposeful about taking action
Introverts can be prone to getting caught up in the cycle of over-preparing - researching and information seeking is right in our comfort zone, so we have to be mindful and make sure we're consistently taking action (even if it’s imperfect!).
Setting yourself clear deadlines for action, and having an accountability buddy can be really helpful for introverts who tend to get stuck in the cycle of over-preparing - and if you want to really challenge yourself, make that buddy an extrovert!
Are you an introverted fundraiser? What habits do you have to make sure you are leveraging your strengths, and effectively managing your energy?
And if you need a little boost (because who doesn’t!) make sure you check out part one of this article, and celebrate all the unique ways you excel at major gifts!
Emma Lewzey, CFRE is an award-winning fundraising expert
with 20+ years experience raising millions of dollars across the arts, education, health and human services sectors. If you want to raise more 5, 6 and even 7-figure donations your non-profit, you can download Emma’s free Blueprint for Major Gift Success, and learn the 4 crucial steps to raising big gifts (at any size shop!)