I’ve taken the suggestions from this Business Insider post, Things successful people do NOT do every day, and adapted them for those of us in the social sector. How many of these are you still doing?
1. Wait until you’re sure you will succeed. You don’t increase revenues from individual donors because you don’t know how to ask for money. OR You don’t ask because you know you aren’t good at it, yet.
Stop waiting! You can’t get yeses until you ask.
2. Multi-task during a meeting. I love this: “The easiest way to be the smartest person IN the room is to be the person who pays the most attention TO the room.”
If you are multi-tasking you won’t even notice if staff or board members understand the topic or situation at hand. As a leader, take time to be clear about what’s going on, and pay attention to the conversation, especially if the subject is a prickly topic.
3. Check your phone while you’re talking to someone. It’s rude and causes others to feel like the meeting or conversation isn’t important. Don’t. Enough said.
4. Think about people who don’t make a difference in your life. It doesn’t matter what the “other organizations” are doing or raising, or who they have on their board. It DOES matter what you spend your thinking time on. . .like causing your donors and board members to feel great about their investments of time and money.
5. Let yourself be distracted by notifications. Do. Not. Check. Email. All. Day. Long. Schedule time for “work” and schedule time for reacting. As the Business Insider post says: “If something is important enough for you to do, it’s important enough for you to do without interruptions.”
6. Let your past dictate your future. Learn from the past. Make the future better. You CAN raise more money, build a stronger board, or close the capital campaign. “The past is just training.”
7. Talk behind someone’s back. “Spend your time on productive conversations. You’ll get more done.”
8. Say yes when you really mean no. Use good judgment, but set clear boundaries. Should you really be agreeing to do yet another fundraising event with such a small staff? You can’t do everything and implement every terrific idea others cook up. Hold your ground and work your plan.
Change your success story. Cross a few of these off your list.
What is on YOUR not-to-do list?