All the small things. Yes, a classic Blink-182 hit back when we all listened to the latest hits on FM radio. It’s also all the seemingly small things that end up making a big difference our work. Some “small things” are one time actions while others are habits that build to a greater impact.

Here are six “small things” that can make a big difference:


#1) Set time aside each day for phone calls

When I was a frontline fundraiser, I would set time aside each day to create a call list and make calls. The last hour of the day worked best for me. They were mostly to donors who had given that day. Others were to ask for advice or feedback on something, following up on a previous activity, or even just a thinking of you call.

#2) Schedule time in advance for data management

Data management is easier to put off than almost anything. Schedule at least thirty-minutes each week to spend in your database. You’ll build a habit and learn more about this essential piece of your development office.

#3) Read at least one fundraising article per week

This is another habit that’s easy to let fall through the cracks. Schedule time to read a fundraising article or chapter of a fundraising book. For me, Mondays were a great time for this and helped get my mind ready for the week.

#4) Develop your own fundraising purpose statement

I’ve seen too many professional fundraisers burnout or fall out of love with the work. Fundraisers are often pulled in many directions and being told to “sell, sell sell“, “convince these people we need their money“, and “you need to make twenty asks this month.” Create a purpose statement that inspires you as a professional fundraiser and reminds you of the valuable role you play in making our world a better place.

#5) Check-in regularly with your board or development committee chair

How many of you only talk to your board and development committee chairs during meetings? I’ve been guilty of this too. Touch base with them between meetings for key updates, answer their questions, and guide them through next steps. You’ll establish a stronger partnership with them and have the opportunity to grow their understanding of fundraising best practices.

#6) Engage the programmatic staff

Programmatic staff has great stories and info donors love to hear. These can lead to amazing donor visits, phone calls, letters, and so much more. Touch base with programmatic staff regularly. Ask them to share client success stories, help you understand some of the challenges clients face, and new strategies or adjustments they’re making to better meet the needs of those you serve.

As always, THANK YOU for reading. Have a great day!

All the best,

Kenny Sigler, CFRE