Something I genuinely enjoy is not often directly connected to being good for me. For instance, an entire party bag of salt and vinegar kettle chips or a whole can of wasabi almonds—delicious in the moment but not great for long-term health. But reading? That’s a proclivity that is fun AND good for me. It’s a lifelong habit that has helped me succeed as a grant writer and fundraiser.
When I was a little girl, scouring the stacks at the Thruway Shopping Center branch library, I did not envision a life spent using words for good causes. Instead, I explored worlds I’d never seen, met people who lived very different lives, looked up and learned new words, and imagined universes far from my own.
As an adult, reading for leisure and pleasure seems like the last thing a busy grant writer or development director should do. Picking up a book could feel like the last thing you’d want to shoehorn in to packed schedule. Think of it this way, taking the time to read can have long-lasting positive effects on your ability to tell stories that connect donors with your programs and services.
Don’t believe me?
Check out the science:
- Emory University researchers studied the brain benefits of reading fiction (“Short- and Long-Term Effects of a Novel on Connectivity in the Brain”). The 2014 research concluded that becoming engrossed in a novel enhances the brain’s function and connectivity, which can slow memory loss as you age. Think of reading fiction as a workout for your mind—like running or weight training for your body.
- A research article in Science found that those who read literary fiction improve their Theory of Mind, or ability to put themselves in others’ shoes, a critical skill for connecting grant makers and donors to the communities you serve.
- According to a 2009 study from Sussex University, reading can lower your stress levels, a welcome antidote to the pressure to secure more dollars for your agency.
- Need another excuse to curl up with a good book? Wired reported that flipping pages in a hard copy of a book can help you remember what you’re reading.
At HayDay Services, we are avid readers, and through our Fundraising HayDay Podcast, we’ve built up quite a list of outstanding fiction and non-fiction from guests and our own reading since 2018. If you want to keep up to date on some of our favorite books to read, join the Fundraising HayDay Book Club today!
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