In the sixties, people theorized because of technological advancements and innovation the work week would shrink to 25 hours by the nineties. We could get everything done in a fraction of the time. Some worried there would be a leisure crisis in America. There were even U.S. Senate committee hearings on the issue.
Laugh then keep reading.
While there’s certainly a lot to discuss on that matter, one reason fundraisers struggle to get everything done each and every week is because internal operations slow us down and limit our effectiveness.
Last week, I was a guest speaker discussing developent operations. Here are just a couple of takeaways from that presentation.
#1: Aligning the job description with reality
A job description is more than just an HR document. It is an understanding which should accurately and clearly establish roles and responsibilities for both parties. Many fundraising professionals have a development director job description but, in reality, are expected to be the chief marketing officer, volunteer coordinator, event planner, bookkeeper, special projects manager, and extra admin support. Meanwhile, their effectiveness is measured by how much money they raise.
This disconnect creates internal challenges and conflict. It makes it difficult to prioritize and manage projects, lead others, and causes confusion and stress among the team members. In the Underdeveloped Report, 41% of development directors responded they did not have a strong relationship with their executive director. This disconnect is a major factor.
Review your job description regularly to evaluate its accuracy and relevance. Make this part of your self-evaluation and discuss your with your leader. Gaining clarity and understanding on both sides will go a long way.
Soapbox: Don’t use “other duties as assigned” as an excuse not to be as detailed and thoughtful in the body of the job description. While we want to be team players, it’s also not an excuse to casually add tasks and responsibilities to the fundraising staff.
#2 Time Management
With all the resources we now have, managing our time effectively is still incredibly difficult.
One tool you can start using today is a time tracking app. I know… tracking your time sounds awful. However, knowing empirically how your time is spent is liberating.
Take it one step at a time. Start by tracking the time you spend on your special event. Or maybe how much time you spend getting ready for and attending meetings.
Thankfully, there are apps that make it incredibly easy: Toggl Track, HourStack, Timely, and TrackingTime are a few.
Make a commitment to track your time on something specific over the next several weeks. You may find it’s not as awful as you think.
Quick tip: Schedule “response time” in your calendar. You don’t know what unexpected opportunity or crisis will arise, but you know they will. A good way to start is by blocking out two hours each day a week in ahead to respond. Another option may be to block off one morning and one afternoon each week.
“Activity is often unrelated to productivity, and busyness rarely takes care of business.”
– Gary Keller
There’s so much more that can be discussed with development operations. It’s one of the six key areas of development we work on together when I conduct a fundraising audit.
Would you like to better understand the current state of your fundraising effectiveness and what strategies can help reach your goals? If so, send me an email and I’d be happy to walk you through the process.
All the best,
Kenny Sigler, CFRE