fundraising informationDo you ever feel like you just can’t keep up with all the fundraising information that is available today?
Like you’re drowning in info and starved for knowledge?
Every day, there are hundreds of new articles to read, videos to watch, and podcasts to listen to.
If you’re like most people, you do the best you can to read the latest stuff so you don’t get left behind as the world passes you by. And it can be frustrating, especially when you already have a ton on your plate and little time to consume so much data.
It’s called information overload and it’s a real problem, especially for those of us working in fundraising.
Check this out:
“In the last 30 years, mankind has produced more information than in the previous 5,000.”
This is a statistic from a 1997 Reuters Magazine article entitled, Information Overload Causes Stress. That was years ago, and it’s only getting worse.

If you’re a heart-centered fundraiser and you’re passionate about your cause, you want to do the best job you can because you deeply care about the people your nonprofit serves. So you try to stay on top of industry trends and learn all you can.

Except that you can’t. There’s just too much fundraising information out there.

More isn’t always better.

I bet this has happened to you. It happens to me all the time.

You’re reading something and all of a sudden you realize you have no idea what you just read. Or you’re in a meeting, and you zone out, only to be brought back to life when someone asks you a question, and you have no idea what the discussion has been about.

We’re overfilling our minds with information (especially fundraising information) without allowing ourselves enough time to process and assimilate it. Then we get headaches and feel crappy, and can’t figure out why.

So what can you do? Here are some tips to help you manage your data overload.

  • Let go of info gluttony. You may be operating with the belief that the more you know, the more money you can raise. While it’s true that you need to sharpen the saw so you can stay sharp, you have to manage the quality and the amount of what goes in. Mediocre advice won’t help you, so become choosy about what you take in.
  • Focus on what you need to master right now. There’s no need to read or watch or listen to stuff that doesn’t move you forward NOW. Get clear on the thing you most need help with right now, and only absorb that kind of info. For example, if you’re working on your Fall appeal, then reading a few good articles on what to include or how to clean up your data can be helpful and timely. Once you’ve completed the current project, pick something else to focus on. You’ll be much happier working on one thing at a time.
  • Jump off the “me too” bandwagon. Just because everyone else is doing something doesn’t mean you need to do it, too. For example, you may think “everyone” is raising money on Facebook and you need to be there, too, or you’ll miss out. The truth is that you only need to be on Facebook if that’s where your best donors and prospects are hanging out. There’s no need to learn all you can about social media if you have low-hanging fruit somewhere else.
  • Know when you’ve had enough. Self awareness is a wonderful thing. You need to know when you’ve absorbed all you can. I can manage a couple of hours a day of reading and learning, and after that, I’m toast. I hit a point of diminishing returns, and the time I spend trying to learn more is wasted.

As a society, we’re overwhelmed, frustrated, and tired. We’re trying so hard to keep up, and for many, it’s a losing battle. It impacts our quality of life, our ability to effectively participate in relationships, and our impact on those around us.

It’s time to prioritize what fundraising information we consume. It’s time to be choosy about where we get our info. And it’s time to train ourselves to focus on the things that really matter.

So here’s what I suggest:

  • Pick a couple of experts to follow and learn from, and stop following those who don’t consistently give you good stuff. I’m unsubscribing from lots of newsletters right now, because having 50 emails in my inbox every few hours sucks my energy.
  • Become an Energy Guardian for yourself. Notice what pulls you down energetically (like a too-full inbox) and work to eliminate those things.
  • Do only those things that fall within your unique brilliance, and stop doing things you aren’t any good at. There’s no point in trying to raise up your areas of weakness. Instead, focus on making your strengths even better, and get help with the stuff you aren’t good at.
Just because there are thousands of articles, videos, and podcasts out there doesn’t mean you need to expose yourself to all of them. Be picky about the fundraising information you take in and you’ll be less overwhelmed and frustrated.