Fundraising Resolutions

Two more days until the New Year.  Not even.  That makes me think about resolutions.  But.  Too many broken; more not even begun.  And yet the New Year feels like a time when we should look forward, plan, make promises to ourselves. This past year was a tumultuous one—though I wonder if it really was any different from any other year?  What it did remind me was how quickly things can change, both for good and not-so-good.

That, of course, reminds me to be in the present—something I often have a hard time with.  Too often I am thinking of what will be.  Less often—but still too often at the cost of now—I focus on what was.  Most insidiously, are the times I think about what I should be doing and obsess about why I can’t actually get those things done.

“Actually,” however, is not the right word.  Actually, I probably could always get those things done.  It’s all the things I put in my own way that prevent me from taking the necessary steps.

You knew this would circle back to fundraising and all the things we do instead of what we should be doing.  And what we should be doing is building relationships that will benefit our organization as well as with our prospects and donors.  I know.  You’ve got grants to write, appeals to mail out, events to manage.  I’m not knocking those things.  They are important, too.  But without the relationships with the people who decide on the grants, respond to the appeals, come to the events, you have very little.  More to the point--and while I hate to sound crass, reality is reality—some of those people and organizations could be supporting you at much higher levels.  But they need to know you better—and you need to know them.

So back to New Year’s resolutions.  For me, I’m going to keep it simple:

  • Enjoy the present.
  •  Consider the past and learn from it; look to the future and plan for it—but focus my energies on the here and now

Everything else, I think, will follow from that.

What are your resolutions this New Year?  What things will you do differently—and which things will you want to keep doing in the same ways?  And, of course, what are your plans to keep yourself from being Too Busy to Fundraise?

Janet Levine works with nonprofits and educational organizations helping them to increase their fundraising capacity. Learn more at  While there, sign up for the free, monthly newsletter.