Humans are built to walk.
Our walking ability not only provides us with the mobility to enjoy and govern our physical world in ways most other species can not, it also is a great form of exercise.
Simply walking consistently produces a host of wonderful benefits including reducing body fat, enhancing memory, strengthening bones, lowering blood pressure, and improving mental and emotional health. In fact, there may be some benefits to walking regularly that are surprising as well!
According to various health experts, we should be walking somewhere around 10,000 steps per day in order to remain healthy and reap all the benefits.
But, the average person in the western world doesn’t walk anywhere close to that many steps consistently. We just don’t walk nearly as much as we should.
“Of course we don’t walk as much as we should,” you might be thinking. We simply don’t have time! Our lives feel far too busy for walks.
And, while we might feel too busy to walk, we have to square that feeling with the fact that we now are spending between 2 and 2.5 hours on smart phones using social media each day. We swipe, we tap, we pinch, and we receive the short-term dopamine rush of likes and comments. We add our own hearts, shares, and follows to our collective virtual experience. . . for over 2 hours each day!
We scroll when we are bored. We scroll when we are tense. We scroll first thing in the morning. We scroll right before bed. We scroll unconsciously. Because social media is a relatively new technology, we don’t have the complete long-term picture of how good or healthy it is for us. However, we do know the early results are pretty bad.
In other words, “we find time to scroll, but not stroll.” Even though we are pretty certain that strolling is much better for us and gets us better results over the longer term of our lives.
“Strolling vs. scrolling,” is an applicable analogy for our advancement programs as well. If we aren’t careful, we can find ourselves – almost unconsciously – spending time with activities, events, and tasks that are less effective over the long-term and then wondering why we don’t have time for doing what we know to be more productive and effective. For example:
Are we spending months planning our annual fundraising gala and then wondering why we don’t have more time for individual visits with major donors and prospects?
Are we inviting the same volunteers over and over and then complaining about the fact that the “next generation is not stepping up?”
Do we immediately stop what we are doing and respond to every supposedly urgent request from colleagues and then wonder why we don’t consistently utilize long-term planning retreats?
Are we only sending direct mail to our most recent donors and then grumbling about not experiencing an increase in new donors?
We can spend more time strolling and less time scrolling. We can spend more time doing the stuff that helps us more and doing less of the stuff that helps us less (or even hinders us or our programs).
The decision really is that simple, although we all know it is not that easy.
It’s not about willpower. Or character. Or determination. Or grit. Or commitment.
It’s mostly about being conscious and aware in the moment. It’s recognizing the urge to scroll and choosing instead, at that moment of understanding, to go for a stroll.
Or, to call that major donor prospect.
We have the time.