This post comes from the Gravyty Fundraising Academy, a series that examines how fundraisers adapt and strategize to evolve what's possible through philanthropy.
Your guide for the Gravyty Fundraising Academy is Director of Customer Success, Lisa Alvezi. Lisa has worked with countless fundraisers across Higher Education, Health Care, and Nonprofit organizations to transform fundraising. As a former frontline fundraiser herself, her goal is to help you see better results from your fundraising efforts.
Declutter Your Office, Find Better Fundraising Success
Working from home during the pandemic has made me comfortable working as a nomad. If you are anything like me, you might start your day at one flat surface, take Zoom calls from another with a better-looking background, and move multiple times during the day.
This lack of a single desk has empowered me to do away with the "stuff" that typically accumulates when I have a single workspace. As many of you transition back to office or hybrid office life, you might find some freedom and productivity gains by clearing off your surfaces and starting anew. Clutter hurts productivity. Luckily, it's also a variable we can control. Let's look at the issues clutter causes and what we can do about it.
First, let's consider why clutter is an issue.
BeWell Stanford, an employee incentive program for adopting healthy lifestyles, does a great job explaining how clutter creates competition for your brain in plain English: "...when your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus. The clutter also limits your brain's ability to process information. Clutter makes you distracted and unable to process information as well as you do in an uncluttered, organized, and serene environment."
As fundraisers, we're expected to manage many relationships, activities, and deadlines efficiently. But clutter (and yes, I mean digital clutter, too!) creates unnecessary tasks that prevent us from focusing on our true goal - properly developing and cultivating our relationships with donors.
Now, let's take action.
Keep Your Desktop Visible. Just like we're supposed to keep 80% of our plates full of vegetables, attempt to keep the majority of your desktop bare. That means no papers, files, notes, or otherwise spread across the surface. Give your mind a chance to focus on the task at hand.
Get Up From Your Desk. Make sure you get up from your desk at least every hour. As you get up, take five minutes to put something away – even if it's something small. Just the habit of routine organization helps keep the mind focused.
Use a checklist. I don't know about you, but I love crossing off items on my to-do list or checklist. Also, each time I check something off, I instinctively put everything away that I was just working on. Whether that means dropping documents into a folder on my computer, closing tabs, or turning the page in my notebook, there is something magic that happens when I have a checklist in front of me.
I find that when I'm organized, I have more energy because I'm focused on the right tasks – the ones I was hired to complete. Don't let clutter be the reason that you don't perform to your ability. Hit your portfolio saturation metrics, qualify donors into new giving pipelines, have the bandwidth to personally reach out to each of your donors. Take the opportunity to declutter now and perform at your highest level.
If you’d like to learn more about how artificial intelligence can empower your organization to have a culture of philanthropy, personally reach new donors, and inspire giving at scale, click the button below and let's connect.