Five months. Five months of being an entrepreneur, it’s hard to believe how quickly this time has gone by. It’s also been over a month since my last blog post, so I’m feeling like this is a bit overdue.
In five months, I’ve learned a world of knowledge, and have met so many amazing people. I’m so incredibly grateful for my mentors, friends, and clients who have trusted me and encouraged me to go for it. I’ve also started to try to find some balance in my life while still doing the great work that us fundraisers do.
My days are full, and it’s amazing. They are full of laughter from my kids, calls from my clients, strategizing for fundraising growth, games of hide and seek, writing case for supports, and laundry…lots of laundry. For all those busy leaders, parents, entrepreneurs, and fundraisers…I’ve complied the last 5 months of learning in an easy-to-read top 10 list.
1. Women leaders are incredible. My clients have amazed me, they are mothers, volunteers, advocates for the causes they are championing, and are so incredibly dedicated to making an impact in their communities.
2. Leaders of small organizations are incredible. These leaders are living their mission, helping their clients, writing hand written notes to their donors, sweeping their office floors, navigating and working with their board of directors, advocating in their communities, and acting as caregivers (for their young children, teenagers, grandchildren, or parents).
3. You need to rely on your mentors. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and learn from experts. In working with smaller organizations they often need help with all fundraising elements, and I’ll be the first to say when one element is not in my wheelhouse of expertise. But I’m lucky I can work with, partner, and reach out to so many other experts. After all, aren’t we all just trying to work for the advancement of our sector?
4. Balance doesn’t exist – but I’m not going to rename my business. When I first started I had this idea in my mind that I could find a neat and tidy balance. But, like all the women I’ve chatted with on my blog have reiterated, it’s about finding a blend that works for you. I work in the evenings when my kids are sleeping, and I embrace the days they are in daycare so I can fuel my passion for fundraising. I can also sneak home between meetings to put my son down for a nap without asking for permission to do so.
5. Life is much easier when you embrace understanding yourself as whole person, and understanding others that way. Understanding that we all have balancing and conflicting priorities is key – sometimes someone can’t be focused in a meeting because they know their child is at home sick, the parent they look after just called and needs their help, or there dog got sprayed by a skunk the night before. Whatever it is, we are all human and we are all trying are very best.
6. Databases are so important. I’ve been working with two of my clients to launch their first (gasp!) database for them. This has been a huge learning curve for me. It’s also so incredibly exciting because I know this will make a huge impact in the way these organizations can fundraise. I’m sending lots of love and appreciation to all of those database gurus out there!
7. Agents of Good resources rock– gratitude and #donorlove is such an easy way to focus fundraising efforts. I have shared numerous Agents of Good links and resources with my clients, and it quickly resonates with everyone.
8. Pod asts are great. It’s the ultimate way to multi-task. While commuting, cleaning the house, or driving to play dates I’m always tuning in to a podcast and jotting down ideas for my clients. Some of my favourites include: Cathy Mann & Associates’ It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask, Simon Scriver’s Amazingly Ultimate Fundraising Superstar Podcast, and Charity Village & The Good Partnership’s The Small Nonprofit. Recommendations for others are always welcomed.
9. Kindness is everything. Everything can move forward with business and personally when you are just kind.
10. Everyone has an endless, overwhelming to-do list…prioritizing is key. Sometimes I’ve had to shift my “balance” and drop the work that I’m doing because it’s time to head to soccer…or we decide to order takeout because I’m working on a proposal, developmental audit, or blog post. At the end of the day, you need to go to bed knowing you’ve focused on and tackled the top priorities for that day, and that tomorrow is a new day, with new priorities.
If you think any of these learnings, or any of my services, could help you and your organization please reach out. I’d be happy to chat with you over a coffee.
Stayed tuned for my next posts, I will be highlighting real fears and concerns from the future women leaders in philanthropy – their feelings on how their careers might be impacted with their family planning and the important changes our sector needs to make.
I’ll also be chatting to a corporate fundraising guru and mom, Heather Nelson.
I can’t wait to share, and would love to hear feedback from you.
I’m truly grateful for all of the support and encouragement I have received from the fundraising community so far.