For Impact


Three (daily) self-coaching questions for fundraisers

Personal Development | | Nick Fellers

It’s really easy to lose the day/week/month/year putting out fires… or always RESPONDING.

I’ve been encouraging development officers to self-coach through these three questions EVERY morning BEFORE email – over a good cup of coffee.

  1. What can I do to bring in more money today?
  2. What am I doing to advance the ball with my top 10 prospects?
  3. What are my next action items to line up visits?

What can I do to bring in more money TODAY?

I (Nick) don’t care about more prospects if we’re not doing follow-up with existing and previous relationships… if we’re not closing. Adding more to a bad process does nothing. Trust me – much easier to ‘close’ that visit from three weeks ago than it is to open a new door.

Top 10 prospects…

This one’s all about the ‘self fulfilling prophecy’. Focus on your top 10 – a little bit – each day. The problem is, most people look at the number one prospect and think, “Well, that’s a long way off…” or “We don’t know them.” Then they open their email and respond to all the urgent but not important requests. This becomes a routine. Over time we never define the action steps that get us a visit with our top 10. The funds (potential and real) from those prospects can never be made up… nor can the leadership and connections.


Visits and asks (advancing and maximizing relationships) is the lifeblood of philanthropy. If dollars-raised is a productivity measurement then this is the measurement on the way to productivity. Are you scheduling visits this week? If not, you will not have new funds to show for it in 6-8 weeks (plus or minus).

If it helps, think of these three as CLOSING. HOMERUNS. ACTION.