Fundraise in the Now
Chapter Leadership Brief 10.7.2022
Deb Brown, CFRE (She/Her)
AFP NYC Emerging Leaders Co-Chair
Senior Major Gifts Officer, The Ali Forney Center
Live in the now. Advice I’m sure we’ve all heard before, but as a fundraiser I don’t think I’ve ever truly allowed myself to take it. There’s always a campaign, event, budget season on the horizon. The calendar says October but my brain is currently trying to jump to December. And this year, I think I’ve felt that more than ever. Year end is looming and, like all of us, we have big plans for it.
My charge to you, fellow fundraisers, is how can we undo that thinking? How can we live in the now? Because fast forwarding through our campaign calendar will only get us so far. Your supporters are looking to engage with you and your organization right now. They don’t want to wait for exciting things that are happening in three months. They want to know what exciting things are happening next week. And my team, and my organization as a whole, deserve to have our right now wins celebrated as they happen. Meaningful fundraising work can happen between Labor Day and Giving Tuesday. We do not have to wait in limbo.
So as I head into my year end fundraising efforts I’m practicing living in the now. It’s hard. As fundraisers we are good at pressing the fast forward button. Here are things I’m practicing and I hope they’ll be helpful for you. I’m engaging in timely volunteer opportunities within my agency with our donors. I’m opening my office window and smelling the crisp fall air to remind myself it is, in fact, still fall. I’m working on taking the phrase “let’s wait until” out of my vocabulary. I’m no longer keeping a mental countdown clock of the number of days until the next campaign. I’m asking myself, how can I engage with my team, with my mission, and with supporters today, not tomorrow.
And if you need a reminder, engage with our AFP Chapter. We are all in the trenches together. When you see me at the next event, ask me what I’m doing to stay present and please share any tips you’ve found helpful. We are each other’s support system and accountability partners - how lucky are we.