Homeless youth

Homeless youth
People we don't see.

Monday, September 17, 2012

A day in the life of a fundraiser

I am one of those fundraisers who lives a charmed life. I share my home with my husband and our four dogs, so every start of the day is filled with love.

I live about 25 minutes from my office and I use that time to get pumped up for the day. I go back and forth with radio stations that include NPR (I need to know what is happening in the world), a local Mexican music station (dancing!), and some talk show to get a laugh.

Once in the office the music goes on and I go through emails. I don't subscribe to a whole lot of email lists so those I have are mostly work related. It makes it easier to focus. My goal is to always respond to emails just as soon as possible. Many times I like to respond with a phone call. If it is regarding a donation or partnership, that is a great way to respond.

Staff arrives and I check in with them. As our big Gala is approaching, we have daily morning meetings just to see what is going on and to see how the team can support our events manager as much as possible. As many of you know, the closer a Gala gets the more fine tuning has to happen. It's all very exciting to me as we count the days.

It's yearend appeal time so I am working on a direct mail piece that will support our yearend campaign. I like to have it mail by mid-October and right now I am tweeking the text and making sure I have the right photos, photos that will inspire our supporters, in place.

Mid-morning is the perfect time to call donors or folks I am working with on a gift or partnership.

I am one of those fortunate development/fundraising folks that has a General Director/Executive Director who is totally accessible. This makes a huge difference for anyone in fundraising and I take full advantage of this by meeting with him almost daily. In the bigger picture we do have a standing meeting every Monday morning about what I am working on. Communication with staff, and especially your boss, is huge. I would also say that making sure the Development Committee of your board or, if you don't have one of those, those board members who support fundraising efforts, get updated on what you are working on as well.

Lunch is with a donor. Maximize time with donors. If you're having lunch, make it worth your while and the donors while. Nobody wants to waste their time. If I'm having coffee with a prospective donor or corporate partner I make sure that when they walk away they have everything they need to get them pumped up about a potential partnership AND they know what they get our of that partnership.

After lunch I edit an upcoming grant application. Then more calls to donors.

Social media time. I have a Twitter account for fundraising and help with the Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest accounts of my organization. Supporting our social media outlets is crucial in connecting with folks and building our brand. Whether you feel social media is worth your time or not doesn't really matter. Your potential donors and partners do, so get on it.

Communication throughout the day is key. It's important for me that my team knows what is expected, that what is in my head is what I have communicated to them. It's also important to me that anyone working in fundraising knows I am always there to support them. I am very fond of a team effort and not so interested in individuals whose only concerns are themselves or what they have to accomplish. It's a team effort for sure. Fundraising is not for an "I" person. Those folks are better suited elsewhere.

Everyday I take a break to get away from everything I am working on. I might read a favorite blog, or the New York Times, or pull out a book I am working on. I  might even go for a walk around the block. We are human. We have to do things that take care of ourselves.

As the day winds down I make sure I have responded to all emails and make sure I have done everything I have promised to my staff.

There are a dozen things I can add, and I'll write about those in another blog. All the above make for a fun day, never a dull moment. I would have it no other way!

My email is dhanley@operacolorado.org

Thank you for reading!

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