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Working Hard vs Working Smart

If you have spent any time in sales or fundraising, you have heard this phrase. 

So often it is used as if it is a choice.


Bob works so hard—he needs to work smart.


Let’s look at an often-used example of the difference (Sharon’s version).


You work HARD

You need to move a heavy object.

You “schlepp” it across the room using your own two hands.


You work SMART

You need to move a heavy object.

You see a dolly and ask to borrow it. You use it to move the heavy object.

Let’s say Bob had to move 20 boxes.


Bob, who worked hard, took an hour to do this task. Then, although tired, he continued working hard on his other tasks of the day.


Bob, who worked smart, finished quickly…but…what did smart Bob do with the extra time he created by working smart? Coffee anyone??


What is this conversation really about? Making the best use of your time.


Let’s make this about fundraising.


Roberta #1, who worked hard, called a long list of new prospects. She did not research these prospects before she made the calls. She left a load of messages. She received no return calls. Roberta worked hard and was tired, dejected, and ready for it to be 5 o’clock somewhere.


Roberta #2 did her research, called 5 people, spoke to 3, and got 1 appointment.


In my opinion, both women missed the mark.


Roberta #1 worked really hard but got nowhere. She did no research and basically spun her wheels.


Roberta #2 did her research but did not work hard enough to really win.


Imagine if there was a third Roberta who was a combination of both. This fundraiser would work hard by outting in the time and effort. And they would work smart by being prepared.


If it was individual fundraising, they would research past donations with their organization.

They would Google-search for additional information. They would run a wealth screen report (if available to them) or other reports to find additional information. And, more.


If it is corporate prospecting,They would review their prospects website—especially their press releases tab to see what they are bragging about. They would check to see what other charities they have supported. They would check to see if they support employee volunteer programs.And, more.


Then they would set an appointment with themselves (a time you put in as a permanent appointment in your calendar for making outreach calls) and made calls until the time was up (1-2 hours is good!)


It is Important to learn your numbers…what do I mean by that??


When I was selling or when I was fundraising, I would know how many calls I would need to make on average to get an appointment.


AND, I would not get up until I made that many (by the way it is usually way less than you think if you prepare as described above).


OH YES! I measured myself for a few weeks and figured it out.


When I was a manager, I would work with each member of my team to help them figure it out. It may sound crazy, but it is amazing.

Then figure out your average donation and you are so powerful you can fly!!!

To learn more about this, take a look at the Team Kat & Mouse article called "The Math Equation That Will Make You Stronger."


All this a little overwhelming? Reach out and let’s talk.

We are Team Kat & Mouse, Consultants for Nonprofits who specialize in the training, tactics, and tools needed to help you raise more money to support your mission.


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