Celebrating the New Year at Copacabana.

I’m so happy to be spending the Christmas and New Year holidays with my daughter, Lorraine, in Rio de Janiero, Brazil – a mix of adventure and relaxation. So far, I’ve unplugged almost completely  (although here I am writing, escaped the cold winter, had fun with Lorraine, and enjoyed the sun, sand, and waves.

I’ve also stepped back to review 2017. Looking ahead, what can I do to improve my work, time management and collaboration? What should I stop doing, and refocus my energy toward? How may I serve my donors better?

Lorraine introduced me to a paper shop in Rio (obsession alert!) and I found this fantastic card: 18 Rules for 2018. Here are the translations and my nonprofit adaptations:

1. Less rushing … more calm -> Be present with your donors. And why not your colleagues, too?

2. Less crying … more laughter -> Sure, our work can be challenging, sometimes frustrating, but smiles and laughter make it easier.

3. Less logic … more poetry -> Donors don’t want “just the facts,” so tell stories where your donors are the  heroes instead.

4. Less bills … more money -> Get creative on how you can make your donors feel like one-in-a-million without breaking the bank.

5. Less diet … more dessert -> Stop the scarcity thinking (“that charity got a gift from Ms. Oldmoney and now we won’t”), instead tell stories that matter to donors (psst! the gifts will follow).

6. Less texting … more action -> Stop writing the plan and start working the plan.

7. Less insomnia … more dreams -> Sleepless over bringing gifts in? Follow these people I love and trust: Tom, SOFII, Simone, Agents of Good, Mary, Vertius Group, Jeff, Bloomerang, The Agitator … now aspire and reach your fundraising dreams!

8. Less gray … more color -> As Chris Davenport says, your stories need more conflict to best engage your donors… add that color, and watch get donors engaged.

9. Less What’sApp …more face to face -> Stop emailing your donors, get out and meet them. Stop messaging your colleagues, pick up the phone or walk over to see them. Personal interactions strengthen connections everywhere.

10. Less routine … more passion -> Routine has it’s place, but going through the motions can dull your creativity. Visit your mission in action!

11. Less grumpy face … more caring -> Sure, some colleagues can be a challenge. Stop finger-pointing and start offering a high-five and a helping hand. 

12. Less drama … more passion -> How about less agitation on the team and more working together for good!

13. Less ego … more soul -> Yep, you’re a good fundraiser – but it isn’t about you, it’s about the donor’s connection to your charity. So check the ego, ramp up the teamwork.

14. Less tedium … more (NSFW, I mean it is Brazil…) -> If you’re “calling it in” at work, just stop it. Find another job. You should CRAVE changing some part of the world, and DESIRE working with supporters who wish to as well. 

15. Less “let’s set something up” … more meeting up -> Don’t talk about getting in touch with donors, volunteers or prospects – call 6+ each day and get those meetings.

16. Less past …more present -> Don’t spend too much time or money on lapsed donors – lavish attention on those donors giving now. They hope to be an important member of your team!

17. Less pessimism … more “let’s go do it now!” -> If you’re in a we-do-it-this-way-and-it-works-nothing-new-thanks” office, be bold and create a pilot program of #donorlove with a small donor segment – and do it now! (Those donors will thank you.)

18. Less rules … more freedom -> Best practices are great, but be sure to test new strategies to learn what engages donors now (fundraising is changing and you need to change too!).

What rule might you add?

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