Getting Better Day by Day

You should never try to write a blog when you are depressed.  Great literature, maybe, but a blog—especially one where the main purpose is to help others do their job better—No. I’m not really depressed.   Just feeling a little overwhelmed.  It’s the feeling I get whenever I think about social media.   It’s an age thing, I think.

In a recent blog, the always interesting and informative Jason Dick ( swears that “Your Followers Are Your Friends.”  I don’t know.  I mean, I’m sure they are but there is something about it all that makes me want to hyperventilate.

Jason says that “[s]ocial media has provided an opportunity for us to have another kind of relationship” different from the 1-to-1 kind fundraisers like to have with their major donors.

It’s the face to face that I loved when I was a front line fundraiser.  It didn’t have to be 1 to 1—small groups were good.  Sometimes, even large ones.  It was that connection.

Jason, of course, believes that you can connect via social media—my daughter says the same thing.  I don’t know.  Maybe it’s just the discomfit with something new.  I see the value in social media—I use it (a bit).  But it seems like some much more work than simply reaching out to someone.

I know, I know.  You reach a lot more people with social media.  It’s the friends of your friends and then their friends.  It’s the people who stumble upon something you’ve posted and they become friends.  It is, really, a good thing.

Different is both exciting and scary.  I’ve incorporated writing my blog and publishing my newsletter into my weekly planning—but Facebook, Linked In and Twitter, not to mention other social media outlets, have not yet made it into my work calendar. I forget to go to those pages for days, sometimes weeks on end.  I don’t use my iPhone for any of it and I know I should.  Hence my depression.

Like so many of you, I am a one-person office.  What, in my overworked world, should I focus on and what should I let slide?  It’s the decision we all have to make.  And then, having made it, revisit from time to time and make sure it is still the best decision for now.

It comes down to your core priorities.  What, actually, are the things you need to accomplish in the near term?  If, for example, you are supposed to be raising 10% more this year than the organization brought in last, you must evaluate your last year’s efforts and analyze what was most successful.  Just as insanity is famously doing the same thing and expecting different results, it is equally crazy to stop doing those things that are working.

A good place to start your planning, therefore, is knowing which things you need to keep on doing.  And how much time that will take.  That’s one good thing about doing what’s been done before.  The Return on Investment (both of time and money) is known.   You can improve the ROI, but at least you have a baseline of expectations.

With new (to you) things, that baseline is nonexistent.  For me, that’s the most daunting part.  That learning curve of figuring out what best practices mean for me in this instance, and how much time sometime will take <i>once I have mastered—or at least learned—what I need to do,</i > seems a sometimes insurmountable wall.

And yet, if age has taught me anything, it is that incremental steps lead over time to great distances travelled.  I know, for example, I’m more effective using social media today than I was two months ago, and if I keep working on it, I will be   much further alone next month and the month after that.

Janet Levine is a consultant, writer and trainer who works with nonprofits, helping them to increase their fund development capacity. Check out her services and classes at