This week, I am obsessed with “focus.” Mainly, I’m obsessed with strengthening mine and learning to be more effective with my time and to-dos. And, for me, the key to this is focus. I’ve spent way too much of my life being a mutli-tasker, and frankly, it has totally burned me out. I feel like a spaz more often than not, and the problematic avoidance of that overwhelmed feeling has led me to the point of paralyzation. Obviously, this is not a place where I want to be…nor desire to be.
What does all of this have to do with giving? Well, many people who I meet often say that they want to get involved with a cause or a nonprofit but have no idea where to start. Some have even described the process as exhausting or overwhelming. After further discussion, I realized that it’s because they aren’t focused and/or you may not have any idea what exactly it is that you want to do. So, they continue to put it off.
No more procrastination!
To get you going, here are three things you need to do in order to focus your giving efforts:
1. Determine what you are willing to donate. Are we talking time (volunteering), talent (planning/leadership), or treasure (your moolah)? If you just want to be involved in a financial way, that’s fine. Focus on doing that and then expand to volunteering or something else, if you feel like it. This is totally your call.
2. Decide what cause really gets you going. There are a zillion and a half important issues, worthy organizations, and groups making an impact in the world. And, when you decide to “make a difference,” choosing what to focus on seems like an overwhelming process. If you care more about inner-city literacy than saving the rainforests, that is okay. Focusing your interests will make you more valuable in that area and also help you stay active and interested.
3. Devise a plan to help the cause or the organization. I know what you’re thinking…Planning = Work = Stress. But, actually, this plan is designed to keep you on track and to help you avoid that overwhelmed feeling. In Step 1, did you decide that you’d rather donate than volunteer? Then, make a plan on how often you will accomplish that. Monthly giving, raising $500 in an annual walk, attending all of the auxiliary board fundraisers? This helps you see what you have to do and gives you the chance to incorporate into your lifestyle ahead of time. The same goes for those of you who only want to volunteer. Do you plan on volunteering in the office for 1-2 hours per month or would you rather staff 3 events per year?
Hopefully, these three tips point you in the right direction! For more guidance, check out my post, “What Kind of Volunteer Are You?” It includes a great quiz from Oprah.com that will help you figure out your place in the world of making a difference!