Change is good. Or so they say.

Posted by on Aug 8, 2012 | 0 comments

I’m moving. It’s a good thing.  Or so I’ve been told.

But I’m dragging my feet because I loved where we were living. I will miss our friends, my business colleagues,  and so many nearby kids and grandkids.

Carmel, CA. That’s the new homefront. (and if right now you are gasping in shock that I’m not jumping at this chance, you aren’t jumping alone – 99% of my friends and colleagues are jumping right along with you).

Truth be told,  I’m excited. It will be a good move, it’s just hard. And my focus right now has been on the “hard”, not the good.

And so it goes with fundraising. When it comes to a follow-up call, or a personal visit, or a first time introduction, don’t we sometimes focus on the difficulty of the effort, rather than the amazing opportunity it may provide?

I know that I’ve been guilty of doing so. Change is always hard, but quite often good for us. Reaching beyond our comfort zone of emails and office banter to identify new donors, build stronger relationships, and strengthen partnerships with that oh-so-important personal touch is not only good for us, it’s good for our organization and for the person we are reaching out to.

Human interaction is a good thing. Email and internet chat and texting have taken so much of our personal interactions to a nonpersonal level that it’s a bit scary. We almost need to fight to retain them.

And we need to fight for change, even when it’s hard. Change keeps us young, it reignites our curiosity, it makes us think again. It brings new opportunities into our lives.

So how can we better manage those extra efforts that are part and parcel of our role as fundraisers? And how can we better manage change?

To help us move forward, I’ve listed a few ideas to help you manage difficult tasks and unexpected change: 

  1. Recognize that you need to do this: acceptance is the key to managing stressful situations; it’s your job, figure out how to do it well.
  2. Honestly face your fears: don’t pretend it’s easy if it’s not; do a self-assessment and read up on how you can overcome your fears. Sometimes the simple act of doing takes care of them.
  3. Take stock of your resources: no matter how alone you may sometimes feel, none of us are in this alone; reach out to friends, family, colleagues, mentors and others in your profession or situation for guidance and support. You’ll be surprised how a few words from someone who understands will give you courage to move forward.
  4. Anticipate stress: let’s not pretend, it can get crazy out there; outthink yourself and create some boundaries to prevent those sneaky stress buttons from being pushed.
  5. Think ahead to the positive end result: chances are, you’ve done this before; you may not have liked it then, and you may not like it now, but when push comes to shove, you (and your organization) are probably in a better place today because of something you managed to do in the past.  Remember that, focus on the end result and think positive.
What do moving and fundraising have in common? They require us to embrace new experiences and build new relationships, when the reality is most of us prefer to get comfortable and settle in. It often seems so much easier to stay right where we are and not change, not reach out. But change is good. Reaching beyond our comfort zone is good. We can do this!
I’m jumping, I’m jumping!

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