I love Spring. Aside from the fact that New York Winters last longer than the other seasons f(or at least it seems that way), Spring gives us an excuse for a fresh start. It also gives us a fab impetus for cleaning up our offices, both literally and figuratively. Here are 10 ideas for Spring Cleaning, Development Style:
- Review your donor management software, and eliminate and merge any duplicates that you find.
- Freshen up your conventional donor thank-you ideas. Usually send a letter? Send a picture postcard instead, or make a phone call. Make a list of new ideas that you can use to say thank-you.
- If you’re fortunate enough to work with a staff, hold a meeting with them to talk about new initiatives for the development department.
- Sort and weed out your stacks of fundraising periodicals. Tired of paper pile-ups? Many development publications, including FundRaising Success, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, and AFP’s Advancing Philanthropy, are available in digital editions.
- Review your donor files and clean out any outdated materials or information that is no longer useful.
- Assess what is working and what isn’t with your current systems. Are there training modules you could order from your software providers, or could you lay to rest a “fundraising program” that isn’t cutting the muster and hasn’t been for years? The best systems and events are those that help you reach your goals.
- Add a few new decorative items to your office space. Photos of family and friends, pieces of artwork that you like, or motivational quotes are all good additions. If you ask nicely, you might even get permission to paint your office or get a new area rug or office chair.
- Take a day to physically clean your space if you don’t do it regularly. Studies have shown that keyboards, desks and phones can be some of the germiest spaces in your office!
- How is your filing system working for you? Do you avoid filing items because you dread losing them? An ideal filing system should enable you to file something in less than 30 seconds and retrieve it in less than a minute. There are lots of tips out there for building a great filing system. This tip is time-intensive, but very worth it in the long run.
- Spring-clean your self-talk. Feeling discouraged over the grey expanse of winter? Give yourself a pep talk. You’re doing good work for a good cause. Your passion inspires others, and the great part is that you can continue to improve if you choose to!
Do you have any “spring cleaning” development tips?
A short collection of the most interesting articles and features that found their way across my desk this week. I’ll be collecting these gems and posting them every Saturday. If you find any articles that rocked your world this week, let me know on my Contact Page and I’ll add them to the next Golden Goulash!
I love a good webinar, and there are a ton of them out there! For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, they are seminars on a variety of topics, offered over the internet, usually with an expert speaker and a visual presentation. They’re great training for people with limited training budgets who want to know more about a particular development topic; many of them are offered for a nominal fee, and some are even free! I’ll be posting a list of them weekly; if you’re interested, follow the link for more information and to register. See my Webinars page for an ongoing listing. (NOTE: Membership may be required to access webinars.)
As I write this, I am snuggled up on my couch, enjoying a Sunday off. I know very few in the field of arts development who enjoy regular weekends off, and this is my first free day in our Monday-Sunday workweek. From time to time, it’s nice to remember that we are individuals with our own lives.
Most development professionals I’ve met work in their field because of a passion. Often, it is an overarching passion for doing good work. Often, it is coupled with a passion for the particular industry that we work in; I, for example, was steeped in the arts as a bassoonist before I became passionate about the Capitol.
A likely side-effect of this passion is a desire to contribute to other causes. Though artistic causes dominate my roster of charitable donations, the causes that I donate to run the gamut, and my donations are usually driven by an emotional attachment to a charity. Much of my giving is driven by my experience with their programs or their impact in my community. Research−such as this study featured in The Chronicle of Philanthropy−finds that I am like many female donors in this regard.