As fundraisers, we often get tasked with a variety of work, some of which comes under the job description item ‘perform other duties as assigned.’ I once went to a talk where the speaker encouraged everyone in the room to ask themselves ‘is this fundraising?’ when given work outside their usual remit.
By simply asking this question, it allows you to think of the benefits of the work you are doing and what the ultimate outcome may be. Sometimes, you notice that work that seems unimportant actually IS fundraising, such as analysing data for a future campaign or going to lunch with a supporter and not asking for a donation. Other times, work that seems like it is fundraising actually isn’t, such as checking emails or ordering envelopes / letterhead / brochures. (These last three are still important tasks, but they are not fundraising and should not as a rule, be carried out by fundraisers, whose time could be better spent engaging donors and planning campaigns.)
‘Is it important?’ And ‘Is it urgent?’
Another way to step back and prioritise work is by using the Eisenhower Box.
To quote Drake Baer ‘If you’re checking your email so often that it’s preventing you from getting any actual work done, you’re mistaking urgency for importance.’ (you can read his take on this subject here)
By using the Eisenhower Box you can decipher important work from urgent work and react accordingly. As a rule, I personally block out an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon to respond to emails. Otherwise, I get so bogged down in urgent but unimportant email responses that by 3pm I’ve been so busy that I’ve done nothing on my ‘to-do’ list! And THAT, certainly is NOT fundraising!
Try asking ‘is this fundraising?’ at least once a day and let me know how you get on!