It's All Downhill From Here

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Autumn’s here.  You’re undefeated, the team has a 4.0, everyone’s got best times, nobody’s been written up, and all of your recruits are still interested.  That can only mean one thing. ...It's all downhill from here.

I’m joking of course, but for so many of us, everything is as ready as it's going to be for the season and leadup to Omaha and Tokyo.  Our profession is cyclical in nature, marked by work-life choices, not work-life balance - ninety hours one week and built-in downtimes throughout the year.  That hasn’t been the case now that I’m off the deck.  Where morning practices and nighttime recruit calls once kept me on schedule, I now find myself sometimes saying, “go home, there will still be more tomorrow.”  Part of that is my fault – an outcome of devoting my life to preserving the opportunities I had as a college swimmer.  A year into this job, however, I’m increasingly recognizing the value of continual planning and investing as opposed to preparing for and then responding to the season.  (Perhaps not coincidentally, I'm also not getting violently sick at the end of every March).

That's what brought me to a webinar from Blackbaud on Giving Tuesdays.  I know, it's Autumn - when recruiting, not fundraising - is a the top of your mind and when you're pre-occupied not with cultivating an aerobic, not an alumni base.  Now I see these things for what they are - investments in your team and your career and as any financial planner will tell you the best time to begin investing is always right now. 

And the best time to maximize your Giving Day success, according to Blackbaud, is three months prior to your target date.  If you're participating in this year's Giving Tuesday, that means yesterday.  So do this: take a minute to let your constituents know NOW when Giving Tuesday is (its December 3rd).  Add it to your team schedule and your Facebook group.  Even if you have “professionals” handling your fundraising, this will help them be more effective.  As you look ahead, also consider this.  According to Blackbaud:

  • Giving Tuesday doesn’t cannibalize other fundraising efforts – 75% of donors are supporting an organization they've organized in the past;

  • Teams that do well on Tuesday, do better throughout the year. Recent alumni (aged 21-34) are most likely to participate and donors acquired through Giving Tuesday and have higher loyalty rates than other sources.

  • Giving Tuesday opens doors to other support. 28% of participants gave money, 37% gave in another way and 35% did both.

Let’s be honest, Giving Tuesday rolls around, most of us aren’t going to be undefeated, won’t have perfect 4.0’s and will have lost plenty of recruits, BUT by doing a couple of little things today, we can ensure that swimming and diving stands above the rest.