Giving USA: The Best Time Management Tool Ever! by Brian Bateman

And a tasty pie…

Slice your time management pie to match Giving USA and get better results than you ever imagined!

So, once again the news is upbeat and positive. Giving USA results continue to rise and the resilient American family is giving away more money than all corporations and foundations combined. What does this mean for you as a fund development professional? The world.

First, you may want to go to Giving USA 2013 to purchase the full study and graphics, or you can simply get the Executive Summary for free. You may prefer the simple, colorful pie chart that you are accustomed to seeing over the last decade.

Rather than engage in an economic discussion about post-recession recovery or the sure but slow decline in giving to religion, Let’s look at how this data might inform your work as a fund development professional.

Time management is a constant battle for professional fundraisers. How do you manage the newsletter, direct mail, board communication, budgeting, planning, reporting and (add your latest time sucker here)?

If you work in a large shop, the pie chart may help you specifically with the charge of individual members of your development staff. Simply, if you have 10 professionals, you might assign foundation and corporate funding to 2 of those staff and the other 8 to the identification, cultivation, involvement, solicitation and stewardship of individual donors.

More realistically and more importantly, if you are a one-person or small shop, the division of the gift pie is even more critical. In order to be efficient and effective, you must consider all your activities in light of how they support your efforts to engage with individuals. A simple grant application easily completed or an offer of a corporate sponsorship from a friend of the board chair may be a slam dunk. Other than that, you will want to spend a bulk of your time (80%+) on getting your share of the pie given by people.

The great news is that this not only helps you manage your time day to day, but it provides you the most sustainable, prosperous source of funding for the long-term. It is the whipped cream on the key lime, the merangue on the lemon or the ice cream on the rhubarb pie. As you work to engage people over their lifetime, their annual, capital, major and planned gifts are more likely to flow your way. The rich American pie all of a sudden becomes sweeter because of the everyday people who love your mission and love to give you their Billions of Dollars in gifts.

So, print the chart and start your day with it. Share it with your staff colleagues, board, volunteers and director so they understand where you will be spending your time and why. Even if some traditional activities have to be given up, or some activities curtailed, it will be a wise decision based on a solid American tradition of giving generously!

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