Fifty years from now, someone may write a history of your institution and it likely will include observations about today’s advancement program successes.
For instance, the history might note that, during this period, your year-over-year total giving increased significantly.
It might report on the fact that your comprehensive campaign went over goal by some significant amount.
It probably will include the major changes occurring at your institution during this period – new buildings, new programs, more scholarships, increased financial stability through a growing endowment – funded at least in part through philanthropy.
Almost certainly, the historical record will not include whether your annual signature fundraising event had more people attend this year as compared to last year.
It will not include whether your latest direct mail piece raised more than the same piece last year.
It will not include the fact that your average gift size increased year-over-year.
Each day we get to make choices on how we spend our time, what we think about, and what we work on.
It’s easy to get caught up in the most urgent, the most pressing, the most immediate tasks that need doing. Similarly, it can feel productive to invest significant time and energy monitoring the most trivial of outputs and reporting in the most narrow of ways. And, clearly, each day we have to attend to more mundane chores and report on more reductive activities.
But, when we pull ourselves away from the daily outputs of our work and focus, at least some of our time, on the substantive outcomes of our work, we align our efforts with what actually matters and what will be remembered in 50 years.