Productive Fundraising In Action: Alice Ferris, CFRE, ACFRE

For this edition of Productive Fundraising IN ACTION, we get to peek into the inner workings of fundraising superstar Alice Ferris, CFRE, ACFRE. Alice is a Partner with GoalBusters Consulting out of Flagstaff, AZ. Let’s see how Alice stays productive …

What personal productivity technique has had the most impact on your career?

Setting a morning ritual: I start the day with a short meditation session, a short yoga routine, then spend no more than 30 minutes updating social media, and breakfast (or at least coffee). I try to stick to this even when on the road (200+ days a year!), which is sometimes unsuccessful, but I always do the meditation, at minimum.

Why did you choose this specific technique over any others that you may use?

We live in a non-stop, constant input world, and I need to give myself a little space to clear my mind and make room for new ideas and creativity. Plus, it helps me stay a little bit more physically balanced.

Do you have a favorite tool that helps you stay productive?

I’m constantly trying out new tools, so this is my answer of the moment! I’m using SaneBox and ActiveInbox to manage my constant deluge of emails, which helps me get to Inbox Zero, usually daily. I also use Trello to manage my to do list, augmented by Google Reminders. My other favorites are ScheduleOnce, which allows people to schedule themselves for conference calls on my calendar, and FancyHands, a virtual assistant that takes care of random stuff that I don’t have time for or just don’t want to do myself. Plus, I always have a notepad from some random hotel on my desk for the miscellaneous thoughts.

Do you have a favorite productivity book, system or expert that you look to for guidance?

Again, I don’t have just one. My Trello boards are based on a model from Asian Efficiency (how’s that for conforming to a stereotype?). I also follow, to some degree, Marie Kondo’s KonMari system for tidying up in both my physical environment and my calendar.

Chad’s Two Cents

Wow, talk about a productivity geek’s dream interview. Alice mentions so many great tools … and some that I haven’t even tried (yet)!

Alice’s morning ritual is key. You need to make sure there is time for YOU in each and every day. By taking a few minutes in the morning to center yourself and prepare for what lies ahead, you will be far less stressed and better able to tackle the day’s challenges. I too have a morning routine and while mine centers more on learning, caffeinating and hydrating, it has the same effect. Both Alice and I emotionally centered and ready for the day by the time we finish our ritual/routine.

Alice and I use a very different set of productivity tools, but are both highly organized type A folks that balance a lot of different commitments. This further proves that it’s not the tool that matters, it’s the process and thought behind it. Find a personal productivity system that works for you, then find the tools that support it (not the other way around).

Finally, thanks to Alice for finally getting me to pull Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A Simple, Effective Way to Banish Clutter Forever” off my shelf and give it a read. I’m about a third of the way through and I can already tell it’s worth the time.

Alice is a Partner with GoalBusters Consulting. GoalBusters Consulting supports small to medium-sized nonprofit organizations throughout North America with strategic planning, development assessments, training and outsourced development services.

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