It’s so seductive at the start of the New Year: the frenzy of planning tools, project management systems, productivity apps, AI integration, seminars, webinars, calendars, and checklists that all promise to help you do more things in less time.
I am not suggesting a return to the days of quill and ink or chisels and stone tablets. Instead of restructuring everything about your work habits to fit the productivity tools, consider carefully how productivity tools can serve you. Here are three ways to exit the eternal hamster wheel of grants and fundraising busyness.
1. Create and Maintain a Grants Strategy
Too often, grant writers are pushed into applying for grants that are not good fits. For example, if you are seeking funding for a $1 million program, it’s not enough to churn out 20 $10,000 grants. The total number of grants pushed out the door doesn’t always equate to the most money awarded. Taking time to understand program funding priorities and matching them to the most common types of grant support (program, project, equipment vs. general operating, or administrative costs) means saving time to develop proposals most likely to be funded.
2. Integrate AI
Leveraging the power of AI thoughtfully and judiciously can help streamline editing for grants and fundraising communications. That doesn’t mean creating an AI prompt like “Write a grant about…” and expecting all to be complete by tapping “enter.” However, using AI to help shorten a longer proposal or case statement or reconfigure a success story into a donor thank-you email could save hours.
3. Experiment with Time-Blocking
You may feel most creative or energetic in the morning, or maybe you’re more of a night owl. Understanding when you’re most ready to tackle complex and creative tasks and blocking that time on your calendar as “busy” may take a while, but it’s worth the effort. Grouping similar tasks, such as generating and replying to emails or hosting check-in meetings with staff or clients, has helped me focus more by spending less time jumping from task to task.
How can you get started?
Choose one of these suggestions and THEN research a tool or system that could help.
Tapping into the roots of what needs to be done rather than which productivity tool will help you get more done is a critical distinction that can put you on the path to grant writing and fundraising success—and transform the communities you serve for the better.
What work habits are you exploring in 2024?
- Silos: Good for Cattle Feed—Terrible for Grants and Fundraising - February 22, 2024
- Find Your Little Green Owl: Focus vs. Productivity - February 1, 2024
- What Are You Playing at, AI? - January 11, 2024