Time—Are You Using it? Or is it Using You?

A common complaint among fundraisers is “I don’t have enough time.”

When I hear this I usually respond by asking “Time to do what?”  The answer is some variation on the endless lists of activities which they believe must be executed—often in tandem—to keep the proverbial plates in the air.

When I inquire as to whether ALL of these things are really necessary, the response is invariably, “Oh, yes!”

But are they REALLY?

I tell my clients that before you begin to “do” you must first “think”.  Fundraising that is strategic, the kind that hits—even exceeds goals year after year isn’t so much about doing as it is thinking.

You must first know where you’re going—long term.  Then you must acquire a compass.  What is a compass?  The guide, the collection of precepts and fundraising laws that are governing your situation.

I call those The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising® These are acting everywhere all the time in every situation.  Whether or not you’re aware of them.

If you don’t know, understand and design your fundraising program with these in mind then by default you’ve become time’s slave.  Without the compass time uses you.  If you’re wondering whether you’re time’s slave—if you feel as though you’re on a treadmill—then you are.

So my advice is to stop.  Right this minute.  Quickly evaluate everything your doing by asking yourself these questions:

  • What long term goal does this serve?
  • Does it conflict or align with other goals?
  • Am what I’m doing actually helping my accomplish my goals?  (I’m talking organizational goals, not money goals.)
  • Is there a better way to accomplish my goals?  (Better being more efficient, less costly, generating better outcomes.)
  • Is this activity aligned with each of The Eight Principles?

If the answer to last question is “no”, then begin at the top of your list once more and see where you’ve gone astray.

Remember—always use time strategically toward larger goals.  Check your compass often.  Don’t let time use you.

We show you how to use time strategically as you build a powerful fundraising program.  Start now.

Larry C. Johnson is the Founder of The Eight Principles and the author of the award-winning book, The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising.