28 Fundraisers Share How They're Maintaining Their Optimism Quotient

Nov 25, 2020

By Cathy Mann, MA, CFRE

In the car driving around Nova Scotia, just a few months after returning to live here, I got to thinking about optimism. Maybe it was the beauty I was surrounded by that led me there, but it stuck in my head and when I got to where I was going, I sat down and wrote a blog post about it. 

Then I got to thinking that I should ask my LinkedIn peeps what keeps their OQ (Optimism Quotient) fueled. So, I did. And they did not disappoint.

I wanted to share some of the answers that stuck out for me. Almost everyone had multiple ways they recharged their Optimism Quotient, so I have highlighted just a few of the ideas shared and somewhat arbitrarily put them into a few categories.

Before I get there, I want to talk about the difference between staying positive and being optimistic.  Paul Nazareth wrote in response to my question, “I struggle with staying positive.” It might be semantics – maybe I’m just splitting hairs over similar...

Continue Reading...

How to Stay Optimistic as a Fundraiser

Nov 12, 2020

By Cathy Mann, MA, CFRE

 

Our stock in trade as fundraisers is optimism.

When I was Academic Coordinator at Ryerson University's Fundraising Management Program, I was invited to speak at a panel each year for the Intro to Fundraising students. The question that the instructor asked every year was: what is one word you would use to describe fundraisers. I always hoped I could go first so I could answer what I answered every year: curious. Because I do think we need to be curious if we are going to succeed at this inspirational, frustrating, awe-inspiring, flawed, and just plain “put your nose to the grindstone to get ‘er done” profession that I am proud to be part of.  But this year, if I was invited to speak on the panel and was asked this question, I think I’d have a new word that I’d share: optimistic.

Who else would enthusiastically throw themselves into a job where you reach out to people every year to ask them to support you in exchange...

Continue Reading...

How to Spark Digital Engagement this Holiday Giving Season

Oct 07, 2020

Fall is here! Time for pumpkin spice everything, beautiful orange and red trees and holiday fundraising! Yes, it is that time of the year again – time to get ready for your holiday appeal. Do you have a holiday campaign strategy in place? And if so, what is the role that digital media plays in your campaign?

If you’re not planning a digital element to your campaign, you might want to reconsider. The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown has forced us all to evaluate our digital landscape, or to go digital for the first time!

Despite restrictions lifting in many locations, it is evident that digital is here to stay and will be playing a big part in fundraising going forward, as highlighted by the below statistics. Since onset of the pandemic:

  • There has been a 12% increase in people listening to podcasts
  • A 51% increase in content streaming
  • 44% of people are spending more time on social media
  • 67% of people watch more news via the internet, and, most importantly,
  • ...
Continue Reading...

Building Donor Trust in the Pandemic

Sep 24, 2020

It’s not an exaggeration to say that this year has been challenging. No matter where you live, your life has likely been affected either directly or by the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic.

For the charitable sector, this has been an especially difficult time as we face billions of dollars in lost revenue, disruptions to service delivery and mass lay-offs. All new challenges to a sector where the long-standing social issues we work towards have yet to be addressed.  

If you’re responsible for raising money for a charity, has the COVID-19 crisis put your fundraising plans on hold? Have you been reluctant to reach out to your donors as you adjust to the ‘new normal’?

While we are all tired of living in unprecedented times, the COVID-19 crisis presents a unique opportunity to deepen your existing donor relationships. Here are three reasons why you should be engaging with your donors right now.  

1. They don’t live under rocks:

  • We...
Continue Reading...

Expanding the Fundraising Lab!

Aug 31, 2020

I started the Fundraising Lab in the fall of 2019 as an addition to my consulting business, Cathy Mann & Associates, as a way to offer affordable digital fundraising courses.

The past year of building the Fundraising Lab alongside my work with Cathy Mann & Associates has changed the way I think about the fundraising consulting space.

I started my consulting practice 13 years ago to help social change charities raise more money to serve their important missions.

Today, the Fundraising Lab is the new iteration of that commitment to the sector.

The Fundraising Lab will now be offering customized consulting for groups or individuals interested in high touch-point, personalized support. By combining our online learning platform with 1:1 consulting, we will be able to support more groups and individuals wherever they are on their fundraising learning journey. AND I'm doing this all with an incredible, growing team!

After 13 years in the trenches, I’ve worked with...

Continue Reading...

Finding a Sponsor | Tip of the Morning to You!

Aug 13, 2020
 

Tip of the Morning to You!

Cathy here, president of the Fundraising Lab. Today's tip is for those at Step 2 of their fundraising journey, which I refer to as "Building the Plane While Flying It". You’ve been at it for a while now and have learned a lot, but you may be a bit overwhelmed. And as always, you still have to raise more money.

Tip #6 is to to find sponsors, not just mentors. Credit where credit is due. I heard about this notion from Lacey Kempinski, who was interviewing Megan Tregunno, who credits Colleen Moorehead with this concept. She said it succinctly: mentors talk to you. Sponsors talk to AND about you.

Sponsors chat you up to their networks. They help you be seen and acknowledged in your community. But their reputation becomes linked to your reputation if they are chatting you up to others in the community. So, honour the trust they have placed in you by delivering.

Want more fundraising tips to help you succeed at every...

Continue Reading...

Volunteer | Tip of the Morning to You

Aug 06, 2020
 

Welcome to “Tip of the Morning, to you!” where Cathy shares a quick tip about the Fundraiser’s 4-step Learning and Action Journey. The journey is a common path that fundraisers follow as they move through their careers.

Step 2 of the journey is called "Building the Plane While Flying It." You’ve been at it for a while now and have learned so much. In fact, you might a bit overwhelmed. There is so much to do and still you have TO RAISE MONEY! You’re keen to learn even more.

Tip #5: VOLUNTEER. Cathy can’t state this enough. When you’re able to, volunteering will add an important perspective to your work. You can learn so much from sitting on a board. Cathy came to understand some board/staff dynamics in a different way as a result of finally seeing both sides of the equation. And volunteering with groups you feel passionate about can feed your soul and keep you connected to your passion: social change and the power of communities.

Want to...

Continue Reading...

Don't Expect Perfection | Tip of the Morning to You

Jul 30, 2020
 

Welcome to another installment of “Tip of the Morning to You!” If you’re on Step 1 (I Can Do This!) of a Fundraisers Learning and Action Journey, you’re enthusiastic and have some experience working or volunteering in the sector. While you bring a lot of skills to the job, there are a lot of things you’re not familiar with or aware of: about the job, about the sector and about the profession. But you’re keen to learn.

Tip #4:  DON’T EXPECT PERFECTION OF YOURSELF – you’re learning new skills. And the time we are living in is requiring us to be bold. Don’t let an attempt at perfection paralyze or prevent you from taking action. Well-planned but slightly flawed action is better than inaction.

Want to see the entire Learning and Action Journey and a bunch of fundraising tips? Take a look here.

Continue Reading...

Practice Humility | Tip of the Morning to You!

Jul 20, 2020
 

Welcome to “Tip of the Morning to You!”

Step 1: I Can Do This!

You’re enthusiastic and have some experience working or volunteering in the sector. While you bring a lot of skills to the job, there are a lot of things you’re not familiar with or aware of: about the job, about the sector and about the profession. But you’re keen to learn.

Tip #3: PRACTICE HUMILITY. 

Ours is a profession with a body of knowledge. If you are coming to this sector from another sector, acknowledge that we have years of experience, research and best practices. And while ours is a profession that, like any, can benefit from some shaking up, we also have a collective wisdom from experience and research.

Want to see the entire Learning and Action Journey in a really cool little chart? Click here to download the entire guide.

Continue Reading...

Learn the Rules, Then Break Them | Tip of the Morning to You

Jul 16, 2020
 

Welcome to “Tip of the Morning to You!” If you’re on Step 1 (I Can Do This!) of a Fundraiser’s Learning and Action Journey, you’re enthusiastic and have some experience working or volunteering in the sector. While you bring a lot of skills to the job, there are a lot of things you’re not familiar with or aware of: about the job, about the sector and about the profession. But you’re keen to learn.

Tip #2: LEARN the rules so you can be strategic and confident about breaking them. There is so much to learn. Fundraising is full of many disciplines that you have to bring together to craft a comprehensive fundraising plan. But learn the basics and once you have some mastery, you can begin to experiment and break the rules. 

There are lots of ways to learn: go to conferences, take courses (check out FundraisingLab.ca), join Spark, read books and blogs, listen to podcasts, implement new initiatives at work (nothing teaches you how to do...

Continue Reading...
1 2 3
Close

Increase your chances of fundraising success

Get instant access to the free resource Fundraising's Enabling Ecology Approach and learn how to create the right environment for your fundraising program to thrive.