Making Time

on in Fundraising

Calendars, calendars, calendars.

Relentless in their precision, their determinism, their directives. Be here now. Be there then.

Comforting and straight-jacketing alike, they’re every working person’s structure for getting through the day, week, job.

But the same axiom of performance-based management – “that which is measured, gets done” – rings true for schedule-ruled professions.

That which is calendared gets done.

And this is never more true, in nonprofit management, than in fundraising. 


“To calendar” has become a verb in many nonprofits. Meaning to put something on the calendar, to make time for that activity, to make it real – a meeting, social occasion, or mix of both.

Sure, most fundraisers run up a schedule of grant deadlines, reports due, annual appeal drop dates. And the savvy ones include time for writing those documents, and maybe for prospect research.

But what about the simple social glue – the calls to catch up, emails passing along an interesting article, the unadorned thank yous?

Making time for the social niceties that keep us connected – those activities that are not notable enough to make the cut of a calendar appointment, yet so crucial to the ultimate success of the fundraising function.

“Thank You Thursdays,” one group called it on their calendar. Someone else I know blocks off Monday mornings – to write emails that will be scheduled throughout the week, and make a list of that week’s calls – just to make sure she’s spending time thinking about who to catch up with.

“Attention must be paid,” a well-known playwright wrote in another context – and the principle rings true. It’s those social niceties, in between the deadline-based imperatives, that keep us in the forefront of the minds of our donors, and those who might connect us to people who might connect us to…

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