This one thing for year-end fundraising success: keep calm


Fundraising is stressful work any time of the year but especially so at calendar year-end. With so much riding on the results of so few weeks, panic is just below the surface in most development offices. A couple of disappointing donor calls or a slow mail week and entire fundraising teams go into a tail spin.

The two-month long sprint to the December 31 finish line can leave even the most senior fundraisers physically, emotionally, and spiritually depleted. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. As the good folks over at the Harvard Business Review advise:

When you notice signs of stress, resist the urge to beat yourself up. Doing so will only make the situation worse. Instead, have some empathy for yourself and what you’re going through.

Burnout is a serious problem at work. It can make you feel emotionally exhausted, cause cynicism, and hinder your job performance. Start by considering how you might be creating unnecessary stress: For example, are you setting unrealistic expectations for yourself? Remember that we all have only a certain number of hours in the day. When you feel overly stressed, acknowledge it and recognize that others would feel similarly in the same situation.

Being kind to yourself, instead of laying on the self-criticism, can shift your mindset from feeling threatened to being self-compassionate, strengthening your resiliency and making you more likely to bounce back from a stressful time.

If like many fundraisers, you are struggling to cast your cares on God here at year-end, remember Jesus’ words to the harried folks of his day. Pointing to the birds of the air and the flowers of the field as His illustration, Jesus reminds that worry doesn’t add a “single year to your life” (Matthew 6:25) or, to paraphrase, a gift to your year-end total.

So keep calm, pace yourself, and enjoy the generosity of the season.

For more on importance of self-care, see:

Giving ourselves the gift of self-care

Sometimes not doing is the best thing to do

Rushing toward rest and relaxation

What's your take on this topic?

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