For this month’s edition of Productive Fundraising in action, I interviewed my fellow Pennsylvanian and fundraising guru Michael J. Rosen, President of ML Innovations, Inc. Let’s dig in …
What personal productivity technique has had the most impact on your career?
In any given moment, I try to do the most important thing. Depending on the moment, that might mean writing a planned-giving marketing plan, preparing for a training, or just relaxing. Related to this, I also try to take care of the tasks I hate the most first (assuming they’re important) in order to get them out of the way so they’re not hanging over my head.
Why did you choose this specific technique over any others that you may use?
I’m a natural born procrastinator. I have to always fight against that tendency. Staying focused on doing the most important thing at any moment helps me stay on course.
Do you have a favorite tool that helps you stay productive?
If I had to choose just one productivity tool, I’d have to say it’s my laptop. I’m definitely not a technology expert, but I know enough about my laptop (and smartphone) to be very useful.
Do you have a favorite productivity book, system or expert that you look to for guidance?
No. I’ve focused my energies on growing as a fundraiser and a marketer. I haven’t focused too much on finely honing my personal productivity skills. At this point in my career, it’s not such a big problem. However, early on, I certainly could have benefited from knowing more about productivity. It would have saved me from learning the hard way.
Chad’s Two Cents
Michael has some great tips on beating procrastination. The MIT (Most Important Task) theory is preached throughout productivity circles. I don’t preach it because I don’t do it (and I only preach what I practice). I personally prefer a warm up with some administrative tasks before I get to my key items — but that’s just me. Personal productivity is just that … personal.
Michael’s last point is key. While he doesn’t give us productivity book, system or expert, what he says is very telling: “I’ve focused my energies on growing as a fundraiser.” There’s definitely such a thing as focusing too much on productivity (and yours truly may be guilty of this). There’s a balance … you need to focus on your craft (fundraising) AND refining that craft (productivity).
Michael J. Rosen is President of ML Innovations, Inc. ML Innovations provides a broad-range of ethics, fundraising, and marketing consulting services and training programs for nonprofit organizations throughout the USA. Fundraising specialties include annual giving, planned giving, telephone fundraising, and donor retention. You can learn more about Michael (and pick up some great fundraising tips) via his blog, Michael Rosen Says.