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Getting Things Done - 2024


What’s the one greatest obstacle to fundraising success?

Nope, it’s not the uncertain economy. Or the proliferation of campaigns. Or donor apathy.

It’s inertia.

Our own inertia, to be specific.

We’re used to thinking that once we do our part – once we send that email to our donor or leave a message with that prospect – we’ve done enough.

It’s called the “Waiting” mindset. Promoted by productivity guru David Allen in his 2001 bestseller “Getting Things Done,” Waiting means putting in your effort, then waiting for the other side to respond.

It’s a comfortable mindset to adopt. But, since we’re a few years past 2001, the Waiting mindset no longer works when you really want to Get Things Done.

Nowadays, people are bombarded with media of every kind. Sending one email doesn’t reasonably ensure results anymore.

In 2024, we need to go into any initiation of contact assuming we won’t get a response. Assuming we’ll have to take further action if we want to Get Things Done.

That’s why my “If Not, Then What” Rule™ has been such a game changer for the leaders I’ve coached. When you follow the “INTW” Rule™, you escape from the clutches of inertia.

This is because you develop a routine where every time you check something off your to-do list – reaching out to ask for a meeting, emailing about an intro – you follow up with another action step.

Here’s the Rule, broken down into steps:

  1. Reach out to a donor – call, text, email, carrier pigeon, etc.
  2. Assume they won’t respond
  3. Immediately ask yourself “If Not – Then What?”
  4. What will you do to follow up? And when? Add that follow-up step to your to-do list.

On February 26th, you send an email to prospect Joe for a meeting. Then, assuming Joe won’t respond, you ask yourself “If Not, Then What?”

Your answer: Send a follow-up email on x date (three days later). You enter that action, date and all, into your organizer.

Then, on February 29th, if Joe hasn’t responded yet, you can forward your first email along with a short note: “Joe, not sure you saw this. Thanks.”

It’s tempting to sit around and wait. But it’s also the biggest block to your success as a fundraiser.

“If Not, Then What” breaks inertia’s hold on you. So you can actually Get Things Done. Great Things.

Have a most successful week,


© 2024 Avraham Lewis & Co.