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Last month, I wrote about the link between strategy and focus. Specifically, I mentioned that in an increasingly busy world, competitive advantage isn’t about being able to do more, but rather about being able to focus on those things that make a difference. We all have limited time and resources. Trying to be excellent at everything is the quickest way to guarantee you won’t actually excel at anything.
In the several weeks since we published Four Aspects of Focus for 2012, I’ve heard from many of you who’ve essentially said, “Okay – I believe you. I’m ready to focus. But, where should I focus?”
The answer to this question obviously depends upon your function within your organization and upon what your organization is trying to accomplish. No two specific answers are the same. That said, the general answer is always the same: You have to focus on what is going to make the most impact.
For those of you who know me, you understand that my passion is volunteerism. In brief: I’m in love with those who work selflessly. This group of people is tricky to navigate for some organizations and non-profits. Some common thoughts and questions that often come up when thinking about your passionate volunteers are:
Can we really ask them to do that (insert undesired job)? I tapped Mary for three things last month, is it too much to ask her for this? What else can I give this volunteer? I can’t ask my volunteers to fundraise, can I?
The question I’d like to answer for you today is the last one.
“Do it right the first time.” “Get your ducks in a row.” “Look before you leap.” You’ve heard them all before — adages suggesting that before you make a move, be sure that you have your plans in working order and your shoulders perfectly squared. Makes a lot of sense in some situations. But in the fundraising world — where shortening the distance between you and your first dollar is critical to accomplishing your mission — you might be better off thinking in terms of “Practice makes perfect,” “Put one foot in front of the other” and, “Hey, just get started already!”
Today we are swapping blog posts with our friends at Convio. To view our post on their site, visit Connection Café. Thanks to Robyn Mendez for this contribution:
Fundraising events are tremendous acquisition tools because they extend your reach into the social circles of your event participants. Think of your event like a party: you invite all your friends (event participants) and they invite all their friends (event donors). Hopefully, at the end of the party you get to walk away with some new friends you didn’t know.
Here at Event 360, we know from experience that fundraising events are a team effort. Teams work best when people get to know one another as this fosters positive collaboration. So, with this in mind, each month one of our employees will tell their story here. We hope you enjoy getting to know members of Team360. This month, meet Christy Van Heugten:
When was the last time you asked yourself “What do I want to be when I grow up?” If you really think about it, this is a loaded question that has the potential to be a simple tool in helping us focus on our goals in life, and guide the choices we make. However, I find the typical response is one that involves only the professional career choice of the individual. “I want to be a doctor....” “I want to be a professional basketball player....” “I want to be a graphic designer….” Is your career choice really what you will be as a person? Does that kind of answer truly explain what you plan to do with your life and how you will use your most precious resource: time? And what indicates when you’ve reached that “grown up” status? Isn’t “grow” by definition an ongoing process? As we grow into ourselves, we are always learning, always working, always being, and always doing something.
Looking to run your events more efficiently and create more-meaningful experiences for participants? There are countless forms of technology that can help event professionals do their job better. You may already have access to some of these for free; others, you can purchase or rent for a reasonable price.
Here's a look at some tools you should consider for planning and executing your events.
New forms of social media come and go in an Internet minute. But every once in a while something shows up that seems to have what it takes to stay aloft in the mix—something that makes the transition from “all the rage” to “here to stay.” Pinterest is clearly in that category.
I am writing this from 30,000 feet above sea level, en route to Jacksonville, Florida, to run The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer. The complimentary drinks have been served and my seatmate has already given me the usual response I receive when explaining that I’m traveling to run a marathon:
Moments like this make me feel like I am of a rare breed, one of very few with the desire to lace up my shoes and run for hours at a time in various cities around the country. But the truth is, I’m not rare at all. Just last week the Chicago Marathon sold out in six days.
At the height of the recent recession, independent fundraising events (IFEs) — activities designed and run by volunteers to raise money on behalf of a nonprofit —were surprisingly resilient. But with the economy slowly rebounding and many NPOs again having success with self-hosted fundraising events, it seems IFE programs are receiving less attention now.
Let's not forget you can do many things to encourage IFEs and make them an important piece of your overall fundraising strategy — year-round, in good times and bad.
If you attended Jeff Shuck’s segmentation webinar last Fall, you heard about the importance of segmentation. You know that you need to send different messages to people based on their interests, but your data is piling up and you’re not segmenting the way you know you should be.