Good Days/Bad Days

Most mornings I go to the gym.  I work out with weights, do cardio.  Some days I get lost inmy workout—it’s wonderful.  Somedays it is just hard.  Some days I don’t really want to be there.  But I am because it is important to me for my well-being. It’s like fundraising.  Somedays it is fun to review your donor portfolio, think of new and interesting ways to connect, write a phone thank you notes or make some thank you calls.  Other days…..not so much.

What makes a good fundraiser is that even on those not so much days, she’s plugging along, doing what is needed to raise funds for the organization.

On my good work out days, I stretch myself.  I lift heavier weights, do more reps, am more intentional in what I am doing.  On the not-so-good days my workout may not be so good.  But I try.  And I find that on those days, what makes it better is to have a clear plan of what I am going to do.  While I do have an overall fitness plan, on good days I can go with the flow—what machines are available, what space is open.  But bad ones?  If I’m going to do work out that matters, I have to be clear—today I am….and work it out before I even walk onto the gym floor.

Ditto with fundraising.  The less I want to do my work, the more intentional I must be.  And I cannot be intentional unless I have clarity about what I need to accomplish, both in the long run and what I have to do now, today, to get there.

At the gym, I know that to meet my goal of staying fit, I have regularly work on upper and lower body as well as keep my core strong.  On a bad day, I think about what I did yesterday, and focus on another part of my body.

In fundraising, I need to consider my longer-term goals and make sure that I regularly doing what needs to be done to get there.  Yes, even on bad days when I may just have to bite that bullet and call (and call and call…) trying to get appointments with prospects for larger gifts.  Or perhaps this is the day when I must qualify my next major donor prospects from the pool I created too many months ago.

It’s tempting on bad days to just not do it, whatever it is.  But when you give into that impulse what happens is that you just feel worse, and then tomorrow doing what you have to do is even harder.

When, in response to a cheery “how are you?” I make a face or admit “not so good,” my gym buddies invariably respond, “well, at least you are here.”  And then they push me to get out on the floor and start working out.

On those not so good fundraising days, just force yourself to take the next needed step.  And then celebrate your successes, starting with the fact that , well, at least you are here.


Janet Levine Consulting works with nonprofits, boards and fundraising professionals, helping them to move from mired to inspired.  Learn how we can inspire you at  While there, sign up for our newsletter and do contact us for a free, 30-minute consultation.  Bad days won’t be so bad any more!