5 Rules to Live by in December

December is a wildly busy time for many nonprofit folks. Isn’t it for you, too?

We’re in the midst of the hectic year-end fundraising season.

There are holiday parties, gifts to buy and decorating to be done. Money to be raised!

With things being so demanding and stressful, it’s hard to keep your head straight.

I remember when I was a working mother with young kids – I felt absolutely snowed under by my to-do list. It was all too much WORK!

So I thought I’d share 5 Rules to Live by December.

Here’s how to manage your workload in December.  I hope my advice will help you stay productive AND sane.

1. Be realistic about what you can and can’t do this month.

The dream of perfection is nonsense. Do you really have to go all-out in every single area of your life and work?

Why not create a “Must Do” list, and a “Would Like to Do” list?

You can highlight the things you just gotta get done on the Must Do list.

Then, you can let your “would likes” happen or not – it won’t be the end of the world.

For example, you might want to call every single donor who gives this month. But is that really realistic?

Or, you might want to bake cookies (if you love to cook) for your donors or officemates this month – but do you HAVE to do that?

Your sanity and enjoyment is more important than having every single thing on the list checked off! :)

2. Choose three simple strategies for December at work.

Here are the top things every nonprofit needs to do this in December:

a. Go all out to renew last year’s donors.

Consider how much money is out there from your current donors, just waiting to be renewed.

Focus your entire board and team on this! Don’t let your core supporters slip away!

These donors are your tribe – they believe in you.

b. Make sure you are “touching” your major funders. 

More on this below!

c. Be sure plenty of emails are scheduled to be delivered the last week of the year.

Did you know that 6% of ALL GIFTS come in during the last two days of the year?

And most of these come online.

Your donors are busy and they need reminders. You need to be in their inboxes several times this month – and especially on New Year’s Eve!

These are the top fundraising things to worry about in December. If you focus here, you should be fine!

3. Make time for the fun stuff.

Dang it, the holidays are about family, friends, gifts and fun. You can choose to turn it all into “work” if you want to.

Or you can choose to move lightly through all the din and hustle, and not take it all too seriously.

And grab some fun for yourself while you can. Remember it’s your own life; your own experience.

You yourself can choose how you want to experience it!

What good is life as a human if you are not having some fun and happiness? :)

4. Make sure you “touch” your major donors and funders.

Those foundation, corporate, and individual donors could be supplying over half your operating budget.

Don’t forget about government officials who allocate funding to you. Public funding can come in from many different state and local sources as well.

The holidays are a great time to send a gracious greeting or small holiday gift of food or a plant – nothing fancy.

Be sure to remind your top donors how much you appreciate them.

5. Add self-care routines to every single day.

There’s a lot of conversation out there about having happy, healthy nonprofit workplace.

Remember the old saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, then nobody’s happy.”

If your energy is down, draggy and dull, then you are not good for anyone in your life.

It’s hard work being a nonprofit leader. If you don’t take care of yourself, you certainly can’t be a spark to change the world. 

Bottom Line:

The holidays are all about joy and light. Focus on what’s important.

Make room for the holiday message of hope and cheer in YOUR life. :)