The holiday season is a time of fluffy white snow, hot cocoa, fresh-baked cookies, bright and shiny Christmas lights and…
All-consuming, havoc-wreaking, nightmare-causing STRESS.
It seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? Such a beautiful season is wrought with so much anxiety, especially when you’re involved in fundraising. Well, believe it or not, it is possible to reduce the stress of the holiday season while still managing your nonprofit’s fundraising.
- Delegate, both at home and in the office. We know that you would probably rather do everything yourself to make sure it gets done the way you want it to, but it’s ok to ask for help. Have baking to do? Get your family involved. You can have someone on dough rolling duty, one on frosting duty, and even one on dish-washing duty (the best kind of chore to delegate!). This makes baking much more fun and much less stressful. At the office, you probably have a team of volunteers who would be happy to lend a hand. You can ask one of your volunteers to write this week’s blog post, put an intern in charge of monitoring some of this week’s social media channels, ask a co-worker to take care of a few gift batches. Letting go of a little control can be hard, but it’s definitely worth it to cut down on the holiday stress.
- Don’t be afraid to say no. You really don’t need to participate in every silent auction, cookie exchange, potluck, charity event, gift exchange, holiday party, etc. Choose a few holiday events, and volunteer opportunities, but not too many that you’ll be overwhelmed and won’t be able to enjoy and appreciate them. Your co-workers may invite you to additional events, clients may ask you to attend their holiday gala or office party, but make sure that you also save some time to spend with your loved ones. People will understand if you turn down their event to spend the holidays with your family.
- Get organized. You probably wouldn’t embark on a large capital campaign without making sure that all of your tasks, employees, volunteers and paperwork were organized, right? Well, we suggest you do that before Christmas approaches, too! That way, you can go into the holidays without having to worry about your work affairs not being in order and can focus on drinking hot cocoa and watching Frosty the Snowman with your family. Make sure that your emails are followed up on, social media posts are scheduled, your phones are forwarded, year-end procedures are prepared and deadlines are met or adjusted.
- Take full advantage of your nonprofit’s technology. Think of your donor database as another employee. One that doesn’t take vacations or breaks and who the stress of the holiday season doesn’t affect. You don’t need to worry about tracking donor data on spreadsheets or by hand before the holiday season, a donor database can handle most of the work for you. With all of your donor information in one place, it’s easy for you to follow up with donors, compile holiday letter mail merges, complete year-end procedures and even organize holiday events. Less time sorting through spreadsheets means more holiday cheer!
- Enjoy the magic of the holiday season. It seems that the holidays lose their magic as we get older, but we always recommend that you take some time to enjoy the joy that the holidays have to offer. Take a drive and look at the lights, attend a holiday concert or play, wrap gifts while blasting Michael Buble’s latest holiday album, do crafts with your kiddos and find the time to volunteer. Just because we have more stress in our lives doesn’t mean that we have to enjoy the holidays less.
There’s still time to enjoy the holiday season, and we hope that you will take a breath and soak in all that this time of year has to offer. Happy (stress-less) Holidays!