If your aim is to “get yourself organized” before you call on donors, don’t.
If you believe you need a case statement or more materials before you can set up a prospective donor visit, you’re wrong.
If you are spending hours running or reading reports on the donors in your portfolio, you are wasting time.
If your first inclination is to talk with advancement services about getting another prospective donor profile, stop.
It is not uncommon for development officers to manufacture hurdles like the ones above. It’s the “I’m getting ready to. . . .” syndrome. It can be easy to get stuck in the preparations.
This is not the work of the conscious brain necessarily. We don’t set out consciously to get stalled in the “getting ready” stage. But it is comfortable there. It is easy there. There is little risk there. “If I stay busy and active doing stuff that looks like good development work, I won’t have to risk failing with donors,” our fearful subconscious condones.
But just because we create these hurdles subconsciously doesn’t mean they aren’t major impediments to our real work. Today you should call, invite, go, ask, care, listen, and engage. Don’t be concerned if you don’t have every “i” dotted. Just be your human self with a donor or prospect.
Will it always work? No. Of course not. It’s not a sure-fire approach to success. But, the “I’m getting ready to” syndrome is a sure-fire path to ineffectiveness. Until you get comfortable with the notion of failure, you won’t reach your far edge of promise in work or in life.