Implementing Inspiration (Or How to Keep that Post-Conference High)

I attend a fair number of webinars, training sessions and conferences.  I find them rejuvenating, encouraging, stimulating and I always walk away with something I can use or put into practice.  And I really get a lot of energy from being around other fundraisers, annual fund people and smart, energetic, passionate people.

The Nonprofit Storytelling Conference is, wow, an incredible one.  It’s less of a conference and more of a Two-Day Master Class on Steroids and I learned a ton on both Day 1 and Day 2.  I came home with pages of notes and ideas and inspirations.


During one of our sessions, a fellow attendee asked the presenter, “This is all great, but won’t our donors start to recognize these techniques?  If all of us start implementing all of these ideas, won’t we see donor fatigue because everyone’s using the same tactics.”

There was quiet for a minute.

The presenter (I really think it was Tom Ahern), very professionally, replied, “Let’s be honest.  MOST of you aren’t going to go home and change anything.  And that’s not a bad thing, it’s just the reality. You still have boards and CEOs who want to write by committee.  And you still have brand managers that you have to convince.  And you still have 1,000,000 things to do and not enough time or resources to get them done and despite your best intentions, you won’t change a thing.  Some of you will.  But most of you won’t.”

He’s right.

How many GREAT conferences, meetings, webinars, classes, training sessions have you been to that you were all inspired and didn’t actually change a thing?

I’m totally guilty of that.

But that post-conference high is SO GOOD and you REALLY believe you can have the happiest donors on the planet!

And AS SOON AS YOU GET BACK you’re going to get it in gear and MAKE IT HAPPEN!


Then life happens and Boards and CEOS and Committees and TIME and . . . we all know this story.

But you really want to implement all that great stuff.

So . . . . pick one.  Just one.  Do one thing you learned.  Implement one inspiration.  Change one process.  Add one habit.  Just one.

And commit to doing that one thing every day (or week or whatever makes sense for that one thing).

At the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Conference in Boston this year there was a lot of emphasis on saying Thank You – on exhibiting gratitude. T o donors, volunteers, colleagues – all over.

I can’t remember now what session or speaker it was, but I came away with the idea to spend one hour a day in gratitude.  DO SOMETHING that exhibits gratitude for one hour a day.  Whether that’s writing thank you notes, sending thank you letters, making calls – SOMETHING.

Fortunately, thanking donors is part of my job function, so it worked well for me to implement that one thing.

I get to work, have coffee (because if there’s anything I’m grateful for it’s coffee), review the day’s calendar/to do list, and then spend the first 30 minutes on Thank You.  Sometimes its email, sometimes its written notes, sometimes its letters/receipts.  And if there are calls to be made, I do those either mid-day for 30 minutes or at the end of the day.

It’s now become (almost) habitual.  Do I do it every single day?  Nope.  Not perfect.  But now 7 months on, do I do it MOST days?  Yup.

So, pick one thing that you want to implement and DO THAT THING.

This is from Glennon Doyle Melton, the “Love Warrior” and she’s right.  Go do that one thing and keep your high.



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  1. Barbara Talisman, CFRE on November 14, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    Reblogged this on Talisman Thinking Out Loud and commented:
    And now a word from Clay Buck on doing one new thing to make a difference to our donors, colleagues and organizations.

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