How Do You Eat An Elephant? The Road Warrior’s Starter Guide for Frontline Fundraisers
How do you eat an elephant? With one bite at a time! As a Development Officer with a multitude of goals looming over your head, it can be easy to sit down at your desk/airplane seat/Starbucks table and feel discouraged. We work in a metric-driven environment. We have meeting goals. We have proposal goals. We have fundraising goals. And at any time, we can look to see just how far away (or “close to,” for you over-achievers) we are from reaching those goals. This feeling of discouragement can be a tough one to shake and it can become a serious detriment to our work performance (and sanity!).
So, how do we guard against this feeling of discouragement? How do we look at our goals and, instead of feeling despair, see an exciting challenge? Goals are good! Goals push you to be better! Goals help direct your energy to the things that matter! But, in order to achieve your goals, you must have a methodical plan—a plan that is realistic, repeatable, and specific.
Just like you would eat an elephant, I like to break down my plans into small steps that lead to larger outcomes. I’ve found that the feeling of achieving a goal and claiming victory is addicting. You need to look for little victories that can add up to big victories. If I can find a way to accomplish an important goal each day, I notice that the feelings of stress and discouragement tend to subside. Instead, I feel a sense of accomplishment and that the energy I am exhausting is getting me one step closer to my goal. I have a plan, and I’m going to achieve what I have set out to do.
As development officers, particularly Regional Directors (aka Road Warriors), we carry a large annual meeting goal (160-180 face-to-face meetings annually). Those meetings are, for the most part, hard to come by, and it requires a lot of hard work and discipline to secure that many meetings within a year. So, many of the Regional Directors on our team have chosen to breakdown their plan to reach this goal into a two-week work cycle. I have provided that two-week outline below. For those of you feeling discouraged or needing to change up the way you are tackling your meeting goals, I sincerely hope you find this outline helpful. Just remember, in order to eat the elephant, we’ve got go at this one bite at a time.
Regional Director’s Two-Week Outreach and Travel Cycle:
Day 1 (Monday): Reach out to 20 prospects to request meeting (email with follow-up call if needed)
Day 2 (Tuesday): Reach out to 20 prospects to request meeting (email with follow-up call if needed)
Day 3 (Wednesday): Potentially send out more meeting requests if needed
Day 4 (Thursday): Complete follow-up calls or emails to those prospects that have not responded from Day 1
Day 5 (Friday): Complete follow-up calls or emails to those prospects that have not responded from Day 2
Day 6 (Monday): Do any last-minute follow-up and potentially more outreach if needing more meetings (Goal: secure 8 meetings per trip)
Day 7 (Tuesday): Travel day
Day 8 (Wednesday): Travel day
Day 9 (Thursday): Travel day
Day 10 (Friday): Enter meeting interactions and complete proper follow-up