What is your life vision?

by Marcy Heim on November 9, 2022

Setting goals to serve Your Success…and YOU! 

This past week over 50 – YES 50 – folks joined me for the AFP DEEP DIVE on Major Gifts. Typically I limit the group to 30-35 but with MAJOR GIFTS being SO CRITICAL NOW, I let it go. Took two zoom screenshots and I’m not certain I captured everyone! Singing “People Love to Give Me Money” was chaos and I know I didn’t personally speak with everyone. The session was clearly a success – EVEN THOUGH I FAILED TO MEET SEVERAL OF MY GOALS.

AFP Deep Dive Nov 2022
AFP Deep Dive Nov 2022

Like many of you, I was hard-wired I swear since kindergarten to connect setting goals, and achieving them, with being productive and successful.  Failure to do so was, well, failure. I’ve spent a lot of my overall VERY SUCCESSFUL LIFE feeling like I often failed to do what I said I would do when I said I would do it by – personally and professionally. Can you relate?  You get a bit jaded on this whole goal thing. It becomes more of a game to fill in the required “annual plan” with your best guess of what you can actually do – or you can always set the bar really, really low.

Over time I’ve adopted a different view on goals and planning… thanks to coaching and life.

Chart your course.
goals different paths

For our fundraising work we often use specific dollar, attendee numbers and visit metrics for our goals. In a campaign, we create a Chart of Gifts and then work to fill it in with donor names we think will invest at the various level. Plotting this out gives us a sense of security and confidence. We have a plan.

However, it seems when we have very specific deliverables we focus more on what we MISS than what we make.

“We were hoping for 200 attendees and ended up at about 180 – a bit short.”

“We factored Paul in for $100,000 and ended up he gave $50,000.”  (What about the fact that his largest gift prior to this was $5000?)

“I was planning to make calls for visits and ended up responding to an email from a potential donor about a $50k gift. Didn’t get those appointments set up.”

You have your own examples, I’m sure.

If 180 people had a great experience the goal of 200 is fine, but does not mean we somehow failed or were short.

If we had $100,000 gift goal down that resulted in $50,000 did we “leave money on the table?” or do something wrong in the asking process?  Or was $50,000 the amount that was right?  I had lunch with a donor of one of my clients this week. She said, “I never wrote a check (to make a gift) I didn’t enjoy!” THAT is reaching a goal.

Our days are filled with interruptions – so why do we plan them out as if we can manage the time as we planned? 

And, we can actually get frustrated with our family, boss, donors, and ourselves because they are not falling in line with what we planned!

Commit to broad end results.be happy about..My goal is for you to enjoy, and be happy about, your development work and your life. 

  1. Your joy is governed by how you think about the results you experience.  We choose to see something as a failure or a success. See the original goal as your ‘best guess’ for the result and be open to a different result as you move forward toward the goal.
  2. Have long-vision goals. Make very specific steps you can reasonably take in a day or week to move toward that goal. 
  3. Decide that extending or modifying a goal is part of the process – not a sign you failed.
  4. Celebrate what WAS ACCOMPLISHED – and view this as a step in a continuing journey toward that longer vision.
  5. Every goal can be reworked.  The Campaign can have a Phase II to get to the needed result over a longer timeline. More gifts can be sought to make up for those that came in lower than the gift chart level assigned. You can try again to get along better with your kids.
  6. Our most important goals are on-going and hard to measure:
  • To have close and loving relationships.
  • To enjoy donors who are happy about their giving.
  • To feel pretty healthy most days.
  • To have work that makes you feel valued and fulfilled.

What is your life vision?  Mine is to help others create their best life.

That vision guides how I interact with my spouse, my kids, my clients, donors and all the fundraisers, board members and leaders every day and how I judge myself and my progress. At the core is my belief that the world is good and I am destined for joy and success.

Vince in my APF Deep Dive course said, “When I work with donors I feel like I am helping them with THEIR “American dream.”  That’s a vision!

May you, too, be lifted up and energized by your life vision. A life spent working towards your vision is a success. 

Invest in JOY®

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