I felt like a proud mama this week when we tossed our virtual mortarboards, and graduated the very first class of Major Gift Master Plan!
I never imagined we’d be going through the program in the middle of a global pandemic - and I’m especially proud of the way everyone stuck with it despite all the new and often overwhelming challenges we were facing.
I just shared my wishes for the future with my graduating students, along with some strategies they can use to keep up the momentum from the program, even when times are tough.
I know we all need help keeping up or regaining our momentum right now, so I wanted to share these ideas with you as well - I hope you find them helpful:
1. Take incremental, daily steps out of your comfort zone to continue your growth
Okay, the WHOLE WORLD is officially way out of their comfort zone right now - so it can be hard to think about making yourself more uncomfortable on purpose!
Think of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone with purpose and self-compassion, and aim to take small but frequent steps out into the discomfort of growth - it can feel a lot easier to take baby steps instead of trying to do it in one big painful leap!
One of my favourite books, The One Thing, uses the analogy of the domino effect. By taking one small step away from comfort, and into an area of growth, you push over one small domino.
Then that small domino pushes over a larger domino, and so on - cumulative.
Just one baby step is all your need to keep up that momentum going!
2. Celebrate something you accomplished today
Take a moment to celebrate something you accomplished today - you can do it with your team, by kicking off your next meeting by each sharing something you want to celebrate, or by yourself.
I’ve found myself doing a lot of journaling right now, and writing down at least one thing I’m celebrating every day has been a great reminder of what I’m grateful for, as well as a record of what I’ve managed to accomplish - no matter how small!
(Listen, maybe you are just celebrating putting on a pair of actual pants today, or making it through another day of homeschooling without going bananas - that counts too!)
3. Reach out for support when you need it
Even if you’re an introvert like me, chances are you miss your daily connections with friends and family - whether it’s coffee with a colleague, a post-work drink with an old friend, or a hug from your Mom (sniffle!).
I know, work can feel so isolating right now - even more so if you’re facing unrealistic expectations from your boss or employer, or you’re living and working from home alone, or you’re trying to juggle your job with keeping tiny humans alive (parents, I salute you).
If you are feeling overwhelmed, sad, or you’re having a hard time focusing right now, please remember: you are a part of a larger community of fundraisers and donors who care about you, and have your back, and want to help.
Reach out to a friend or colleague for support when you need it.
4. Let go of the impossibility of perfection
If there is any time to get over our tendency towards perfectionism, this is it!
With so many of us working from home, Zoom meetings are a festival of kid wrangling, family members wandering by on the way to the kitchen, and unplanned pet appearances.
(if you need a good laugh right now, check this out: different types of zoomers - I’m definitely the one with family member cameos!)
Your donors (and hopefully your boss!) get that it isn’t business as usual right now. We’re all in uncharted territory, managing the best we can - so why not embrace the imperfection, and work with it?
How are you maintaining or regaining your momentum right now? Even if it’s just one small baby step, you’re making progress - keep it up!
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!)