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When Things Don’t Go As Planned

By April 18, 2017December 6th, 2022Culture Change, Development, Fundraising


The more simple your systems and plan, the easier it is to adapt in times of stress.

Do you have multiple grant proposal deadlines in the next few weeks?

Or is your biggest fundraising event of the year in the next few weeks and it has so many moving pieces it’s like a house of cards?

Or maybe you have:

  • Multiple grant proposals
  • AND seven upcoming events that are meet & greets
  • PLUS your biggest fundraising event of the year
  • AND you only have a staff of 3: Yourself, a data entry admin and the new marketing & communications intern you just hired.


My stomach is starting to tighten and I’m getting sweaty palms just thinking about it– and I don’t even have to do it. I can’t imagine your overwhelm, frustration and possibly stone cold fear.

Here’s the thing, (and I’m saying this to myself as much as I am to you): when we focus on doing one or two things really well and keep the load manageable we have more success.

True Story
I spoke to a development director a few months ago who, with her tiny but mighty team of 1.5 plus herself, is managing 17 events this year including a gala and a golf event. They are having so many events Linda explained, “Because we have to raise at least 20% more this year.”


Not only will they not have time to do each event well, the key follow-up won’t happen. Plus, they can perish the thought that something goes wrong in the planning of any of the events. How will they deal with the stress of any curve balls?

We have no wiggle room to adapt in times of stress or unforeseen events if we create the house of cards with too much or too many.

After asking some really smart, tough, questions, Linda’s team paired down their planned events to less than half of what they started with. Hallelujah!

The Magic Potion for Us All

After simplifying, choose to do our remaining events, mailings or meetings, so well, that each one knock’s the results out of the ballpark.

And give up feeling like you can’t get it all done. The truth is, you can’t.

N.E.V.E.R. will you have a “to do” list that doesn’t have something on it.

Choose to do less – the best you possibly can.

Then put structure, systems and back-up in place so that when it rains, snows or someone gets sick, things keep humming along.




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