I still vividly remember my car making some noises that put me in urgent mode many years ago. Dropping my plans for the day and rearranging my schedule, I quickly got an older friend to look at it. He returned it to me quite promptly in tip-top shape. "What did you do?" I asked. "I changed the oil," he replied. I was embarrassed and ashamed. I had run my car for a very long time without changing the oil. I was a kid. I was pretty ignorant. My neglect of what was important landed me in an urgent situation that brought my plans for the day to a screeching halt.
Later on, I learned from Stephen Covey in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People that I lived my life struggling with what Covey called "the tyranny of the urgent."
Covey studied very effective people and learned that these high-impact individuals avoided living their lives at the tyranny of the urgent by routinely prioritizing what was important. By prioritizing "the important," they minimized what could become "urgent."
Fundraising Gold Nugget: When You Don't Plan For The Important, The Tyranny Of The Urgent Becomes Your Master.
Neglecting what was "important" (changing my oil every 3,000 miles) put me at the mercy of what Covey called "the tyranny of the urgent" (my motor slinging a rod at a most inopportune time). Never able to do what was "important," I lived my life at "the tyranny of the urgent."
As a young pastor, my eyes were open to a new truth about myself. I began to fight to maximize "the important" to stop living at the "tyranny of the urgent."
Just yesterday, a personal friend told me how she felt a divine revelation to prioritize what was important and REFUSE to continue to live at the "tyranny of the urgent." While she was talking, I felt deep emotion stirring in me. Fighting tears, I took it as the voice of Providence to me. David, this is your fight, don't fail to win it.
My journey to stop living at the tyranny of the urgent led me to prioritize planning.
Fundraising Gold Nugget: The Only Escape From The Tyranny Of The Urgent Is To Prioritize Planning.
A passenger was talking to the captain of the Queen Mary as it was going full speed out on the ocean. The passenger asked the captain, "how long will it take before you can stop this vessel?" The captain looked at the passenger and replied, "it takes a little bit over a mile to come to a dead stop from right here. If we shut down all the engines, it'll take us a little over a mile to come to a dead stop." The captain replied again, "a good captain thinks at least a mile ahead."
Selah. Pause and think about that. Are you getting this?
"Thinking a mile ahead" means planning. When I don't plan for the important, I end up living my life at the tyranny of the urgent.
But, what does this have to do with fundraising? Most fundraisers, living as a slave to the tyranny of the urgent, never make an excellent plan for getting the money they need. I find this especially true for the most lucrative time of the year for fundraising: The End Of Year.
Someone shows up at your door - you shoot a text - you answer an email—your phone rings. Suddenly, your day has been highjacked by what other people have asked you to do. You spend your day, week, and month reacting to what shows up at the moment as urgent.
You must make the quality decision to stop living at the competing demands of the urgent all around you. Instead, you must decide ahead of time how you will spend your minutes, hours, days, and months. If you don't decide ahead of time, others will decide for you.
Fundraising Gold Nugget: If you don't have a plan for your day, week, and month, others will impose their plan on you.
I am saying that you need to plant your tree before you need the shade.
As I write this post, it is July. Listen to me when I tell you: Great fundraisers raise up to half of their annual budget at the end of year. BUT THEY START PLANNING FOR THEIR END-OF-YEAR IN JULY.
Fundraising Gold Nugget: Great Fundraisers Start Their Over-The-Top End-Of-Year Fundraising With Great Planning In July.
Your opportunity to maximize your end-of-year fundraising begins with you having a plan in July!
Do you have a plan for cashing in on THE most lucrative time of the year?
Do you have a plan for cashing in on THE most lucrative month of the year?
Do you have a plan for cashing in on THE most lucrative day of the year?
"Opportunity is a haughty goddess who wastes no time with those who are unprepared." The Richest Man in Babylon
I want you to cash in at year's end. To help you, I am teaming up with fundraising coach Kay Helm to do a webinar to help you with your year-end fundraising planning. Christmas Fundraising Starts In July: Tuesday, July 27, 11 a.m. FREE
But space is limited; you must sign up. First come, first served.
It has been my observation that most people in life are unprepared for their most significant opportunities. They live their lives realizing too late that a great opportunity has passed them by. They say:
Life isn't fair
Some people have all the luck
No matter what I do, I just can't get ahead
They also denigrate those who prepare for and take advantage of their opportunities.
They are so lucky
The stars always line up for them
Fundraising Gold Nugget: If opportunity passes through your fingers, it is probably because you were unprepared.