It’s a new year! TIME FOR A FRESH START! 🙂

I seem to talk mostly about what is wrong with our sector, and I confess it is beginning to weigh on my spirit.

I actually had a lot of fun sometimes when I was working full time at nonprofits.

Here are the things that would make my day better, guaranteed.

I give you 11 ways to make today better in your fundraising office.

1. Take a walk on the wild side. Get outside. Take a walk, go get coffee with a friend, a colleague, a donor, just do not stay chained to your desk! That’s right. Eat lunch, OUT. There’s a good networking book called “Never Eat Alone” and I encourage you to follow its precepts.

Imagine how many more people you could meet, how many connections you could make, if you ate with other people more! Eating at your desk may save you money, but your life is out there waiting for you. Go out and live!

new glasses shirtless dude

2. Get new glasses. Look at everything that is going right. There are actually a lot of things that are going right. Like, for example, you thought that would be a tame picture above, but you actually got to see a nipple ring! Yep! Life keeps throwing you surprises.

Gotta step back and enjoy the little things. Like, you finished that grant proposal this week. You talked with a donor this week. You sat down with your event committee and people actually agreed to do a couple of things!

3. You own a frame shop. You are framing the story of your own life. How do your frames make or break your world?  If you say “this happened to me and then this happened to me” you’re using passive language. How can you change your story from being a victim to being an actor?

Realize the power of framing. Your frame shop may need some new frames! An event that 3 people see can have 3 very different interpretations. A wonderful book to help you realize what story you are telling about your life is called The Story of Your Life by Mandy Aftel.

she ra he-man

4. Be He-Man, She-Ra, or your superhero of choice. By the POWER OF GREYSKULL, You have the power, today, to make this day good.

5. Be magnanimous. Praise a volunteer. Say, “You got my attention when you…” or “What would we do without you?” or “Have I ever told you how much I appreciate you?”

6. Be like a queen. Praise a staff member. But don’t, please, say “Good job.” That is fairly meaningless. If there’s someone who always just gets things done in a quiet way, show them you noticed. Find a way to praise something that improved in how they did something, praise their efficiency in doing a certain task, or even praise their demeanor. “I love how you laugh” could be a good one.

7. Be like a squirrel. Your blood sugar actually dictates how patient you are with people. If you are still at your desk when you should be stretching, standing up, or taking a break, you are more likely to be tense and irritable. If you want to be in a better mood more frequently, then pay attention to your hunger.

Check in with yourself. Are you feeling peckish? Keep nuts and fruit in your desk for snacking throughout the day. This will not only help you keep your blood sugar at an even keel, it will also help your skin look healthy thanks to the Omega 3 oils in the nuts!

8. Realize how little people remember when you mess up.  Even if you keep beating yourself up for days, nobody remembers what you did unless you keep bringing it up. Nobody remembers their day-to-day activities of last week, much less last month! Realize how little this is going to matter, in the grand scheme of your life.

Unless you drove your girlfriends’ car onto the sidewalk because you forgot you were driving a car and thought you were riding a bike instead. Yeah, she still remembers that. And she’s laughing at you. Even now.

9. Clean up your desk. It is incredible how good this will make you feel. I seem to live in a permanent state of desk-mess.. but when I clean up, WOW it feels good. Everything is in the filing cabinet now. The table is clear. The books are tidied away. The folders are labeled properly. My headphones are hanging where they’re supposed to be.


10. Get in early one day and leave little happy notes on people’s desks. Something like, “You brighten my day! Thank you!” Consider adding a flower or a even a drawing of a flower. Why are so many of these tips about being sweet to other people? Because working with people you consider friends can make your workplace a lot nicer to be in. Being just a little generous and giving people reasons to like you makes even the grumpy ones rethink their attitude around you.

11. Make sure you leave at 5pm and go do your favorite self care task. Hang out with friends? Go for a hike or a run? Go on a date? Call your mom and tell her you love her? Enjoy a yoga class, massage or community acupuncture? Go get some tea from your favorite teashop? Bike home and notice things in nature? Drive home then go to the gym? Whatever it is, you have to appreciate those people and things you love to do outside of work and make time for them. In the end, they are much more important than work will ever be. Yes, even your very important mission. Your life is more important. And staying late isn’t going to help the mission any more than coming in fresh tomorrow will.

Was that enough for you? Any other tips you’d like to add?