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Addressing the balance in your Fundraising life - Are you in control?

By Claire Fuller | Fundraising Marketing News | 20 May 2019

If recent news stories like the changing political landscape, the incidence of natural disasters, rise of terrorism and loss of historic buildings like Notre Dame are anything to go by; we have much less control over the future than we might think and we are often surprised more than we’d like to be.

If you’re anything like me, you like to have a sense of being in control, to know what’s going to happen and when, and what the results will be.  We all know that many elements of the future are completely outside of our control, but we can plan for it and, in some cases, we can modify our behaviour/actions to bring about the results that we would like to see.

Whilst this can be applied in situations like our personal relationships and daily decision making, is it also true of our life in fundraising? 

Through the use of a simple tool like the Eisenhower Matrix it may be possible to identify places where a few small changes to your prioritising could have a huge impact on your workload and ultimately lead to increased success with your fundraising.

Using the Eisenhower Matrix to identify and prioritise your fundraising workload:

To use the matrix simply list your current tasks “to do” in the relevant sections of the grid below according to their level of urgency and importance (ideally limiting yourself to a maximum of 8 tasks in each section).

Once categorised into the different sections this matrix can be used to help establish which tasks should be completed first, which should be delegated and which should perhaps not be done at all:

The Eisenhower Matrix
  • Section 1 - Important and urgent – These tasks are non-negotiable, they must be done today or tomorrow.  This would include emergency appeals which should be at the top of your agenda if they arise
  • Section 2 - Important but not urgent – These are the tasks that should be scheduled and completed after section 1.  It is possible to reduce stress by planning in as many of these tasks as possible to ensure you complete them in good time and are not surprised by tasks which suddenly become important AND urgent.  In the case of fundraising, this section could include your preparation, planning, relationship building and personal development which all need to be done but are not the most urgent items on the list.  Interestingly, it’s known that this is the section that tends to be overlooked, as tasks in section 3 tend to get in the way
  • Section 3 - Urgent but not important – These are the tasks that can easily eat away at your time, consisting of activities such as emails, phone calls, interruptions and often the things that you like doing! It is important that you’re aware of them and allocate an appropriate amount of time to them (perhaps checking emails at certain times during the day) but learn to say “no” to things that really aren’t important, or perhaps delegate them somewhere else if appropriate.
  • Section 4 - Not important and not urgent – These activities could be thought of as time wasters and things you should not be doing at all.  If you discover and stop the bad habits that sit in this section this will free you up to send more time on the important tasks in other sections.

Planning (but not overly procrastinating!) tasks according to their urgency and importance can have a real impact in terms of helping you to reset the balance of your time, effort and resources. Of course, there isn’t a “one size fits all” solution which prescribes exactly how much time to dedicate to each section, but in general it’s been found that spending more time on the tasks in section 2 compared to those in section 3 can be transformational (in terms of your work capacity, happiness and much more)!

We’d love to hear any tips you have on prioritising your fundraising tasks list. Of course we’re also here to help ease the load and take the pressure off your marketing and fundraising.  We’d love to discuss the ways that we can help you with the planning and delivery of your next campaign or strategy.

Acknowledgements/References:

Future Fundraising Now
Eisenhower
Photo by Jordan Opel on Unsplash

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