Are you ready to write it down?

A few weeks ago, on Connection Café, I shared my belief that fundraising and weight loss are kindred spirits. The gist is, like weight loss we want immediate fundraising results. And, just like removing the lbs increasing revenue takes work.

I thought we could borrow another tactic from our weight loss friends… write it down.  When it comes to losing weight what you eat is just as important as sweating it out at the gym.  You have to write down what you eat to make sure you’re getting the right balance of carbs, protein and fat.  What should you be writing down when it comes to fundraising? I’ll get to that in a minute.

Last week, Kathryn Hall shared how the classics never go out of style [defunct link removed].  Old school tactics like handwritten notes, attending participant’s events and phone calls make you stand out.  When you take the time to call someone or send them a thoughtful note the recipient feels appreciated; and that the money they’re raising isn’t just for a cause, but there’s also real person who cares about them and is depending on their support.  I always say you have a fundraiser for life when you get added to their holiday card list.  Not, a card to the organization you work for, but a personal card to you.  Maybe an updated tell is when you get the facebook friend request.  This is when you know your relationship has changed and become more meaningful for the participant… aka fundraiser for life.

So, have you figured out what I want you to write down?  When I share with people that old school tactics separate you from the pack, I’m often met with resistance.  The number 1 excuse is…. TIME.  I don’t have time to call people or write notes.  Here’s the thing, you do have time.  And, this is what I want you to write down.

For one day write down all your activities.  Take a piece of paper, paper so archaic I know. Take your piece of paper and create three columns.  In the first column write down every task you do, meeting you attend, call you take, and email you send. In the second column put a dollar amount next to each task.  For example sending that email will result in $XX towards my revenue goal.  Then in the third column put whether the activity was internal or external.  Internal meaning the activity was with co-workers; external the activity was with a participant, sponsor, volunteer, etc…

I know this sounds daunting, but, the purpose of this exercise is to help you focus your time.  Why put a dollar amount next your activities?  This will help you see if your daily tasks are impacting your revenue.  It’s not always clean – I did this task and therefore I’ll raise $XX.  But, putting a dollar amount next to activities will get you asking the question “Is this task helping me reach my goal?”  Just like with weight loss we don’t lose the 20lbs in one day, but every calorie you burn helps you get to your end goal.

The purpose of the internal vs. external column is another way to focus your time.  Are you spending more time meeting with your co-workers or are you spending more time cultivating your participants?  If you’re spending more time with internal folks, it’s probably time to re-focus your efforts.

What I hope you’ll learn from this exercise is you do have time to call participants.  It may just require refocusing your daily tasks. You may not be able to call everyone, but you do have time to call those who will make the greatest impact (who are these folks; well that’s a topic for next week).

In the words of Jerry Springer, here’s my final thought: Focus on activities that will impact your revenue.  Small actions that will help you reach the big goal.