Take a deep breath.
The year is almost over.
You’ve been going at high speed probably since September (or earlier).
But let’s be realistic: You’ve been at it all year.
And you’re tired.
That’s normal. It’s true for most professionals. But it’s especially true for nonprofit professionals — chronically understaffed, facing rising demands, changing conditions, donors who increasingly need more from you …
All this can wear you out. Even lead to burnout.
One way to fight it is to celebrate.
With the end of this year and the start of the next, now is a great time to do that.
Psychologists tell us that celebrating the good strengthens us against the bad. It makes us more resilient, more mindful, and more energetic.
Sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes they go right. If we don’t stop and take notice of the things that go right, we tend to remember the bad stuff more. Our internal life story gets more and more depressing — just because we forget the victories.
One member of The Fundraisingology Lab online community shared how their organization recently celebrated: “The first time our gala fundraiser raised $100,000, I passed out 100 Grand candy bars at the board meeting — because success tastes good.”
Think about that: You know how much work a fundraising gala is. It rules your life for weeks or months. Then it happens. Then it’s over. You’re so tired of it by that time you may want to just move on. But when all that effort accomplished something great, you should acknowledge that!
We’re near the end of the busiest time of year for most fundraisers. Most of us get a huge part of fundraising revenue at this time of year. Whether it has been good, great, or even okay… it’s something to stop and take notice of.
Have a party!
Celebrate even small and routine success
Where the celebration habit really can make a difference is when it’s not just about the big, once-a-year successes. Small successes can fly by unnoticed if we let them. But if you consciously decide to have mini-celebrations of mini-successes, you’ll have a lot more fun.
Here are some of the ways members of The Fundraisingology Lab community celebrate the small stuff:
- “We tell each other how much we love each other almost at every conference call.”
- “We have a victory board both in the office and on Slack where we celebrate big and small wins and nice comments from donors.”
- Another member set up a bell that they ring when they get a new monthly donor, upgrade, or re-engagement! Ding!
Things don’t always go well. Sometimes the best you can say is “We survived.”
And that’s something to celebrate too.
I spent most of my career working at fundraising agencies, working with dozens of nonprofit clients. In any given week, there was one big success, one soul-crushing disaster, and a lot of forgettable in-between stuff. At my most recent agency, we gathered at the end of the workday on Fridays. We called it “Growler” because that’s what we shared. (In case you haven’t encountered it, a growler is a refillable 64-ounce jug of beer.)
We’d just hang out and commiserate or celebrate. Usually a bit of both.
You spend a lot of time with your professional colleagues. More than your own family sometimes. Stepping out of the busy stream of getting stuff done for just a while each week really made us a community — not just a workplace.
What do you do to celebrate? Share your answer in the comments below.
Want some one-on-one help for building your relationships with your top donors? Schedule a free 25-minute call with Fundraisingologist Sean Triner. He’ll give you great free advice, and help you identify your best path forward. Click here to book your call.
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