Does Your Career Need An Energy Shot? Consider Planned Giving

Invest in yourself on a daily basis. Surveys show a planned giving career is more rewarding.

Welcome to fundraising’s most proactive field. A planned giving career will take you —  and your nonprofit — far.

In fact, two informal surveys we conducted indicate that those who even dabble in planned giving do significantly better in their careers than those who do not.

Don’t trust our surveys? Just think about it logically. Planned giving is a niche-market, proactive field. It involves foresight and thoughtful long-term planning for the future. This is different from annual giving, which is more about being reactive and addressing urgency. And in almost any field, those in charge of long-term planning are compensated far better than those serving immediate needs. Whether it’s fair or not is beside the point. The fact remains: A planned giving career pays better.

My Habits

Here are some tips to energize your career. Don’t just read them. Pick at least two to put into action straight away.

  • Set daily goals. I prefer to write them down by hand. I’ve heard that while writing, the nerve endings in your fingers light up your brain.
  • Recognize the difference between being busy and being productive. Picking up your dry cleaning should be done after work hours.
  • Call and thank a donor every day, or at least send a thank-you card. Especially in tough times.
  • Skip the seminars on planned giving calculators and the generation skipping tax. You are better off learning how to improve your people skills. Read How to Win Friends and Influence People.
  • Relieve yourself from back-office work. In other words, farm out the busy work! If your boss objects by telling you it’s not in the budget, explain how much more expensive opportunity costs are.
  • Do not multitask unless one project is on hold. It adds to inefficiency. Do not fight me on this one. Don’t believe me? Take the test here to see why multitasking is actually bad for you.
  • Link everything you do back to your goals. Read this twice.
  • For premium work, turn off text, email and phones. Technology is a blessing as well as a curse. One distraction can set you back 15 minutes.
  • In many environments, the average employee productivity rate is as low as 80 percent. Do not be part of that group!

What are your best productivity strategies? How about productivity tactics? There is a difference, you know.

Take Karen Martin’s Productivity Quiz and then write to me. I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line at

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