I find that fundraisers spend a lot of unnecessary time chasing the next great thing and worrying about how they’ll come up with new ways to raise dollars for their cause. A productive fundraiser does not do this. For the productive fundraiser, idea generation is an ongoing and innate process. They are constantly collecting ideas and therefore have a fundraising tactic treasure trove constantly at their disposal. It’s not a switch that you turn on at conferences or as your campaign year wraps up — it’s an ongoing process.
There’s a great quote by business guru Seth Godin that shows the value of this approach: “You probably don’t need yet another new idea. Better to figure out what to do with the ones you’ve got.” [sidebar: I had the pleasure of seeing Seth live at AFP’s 2015 International Conference in Baltimore — he’s the best public speaker I’ve ever seen. Don’t miss the opportunity if you get the chance to see him live.]
So, once you take on this mindset, you’ll never have to go searching for great ideas again. You’ll already have them stored away somewhere for future use. Personally, I have a notebook in my online note taking application simply called “Idea Bank.” It’s a collection of ideas, articles, photos, etc. taken from conferences, books, articles, blog posts, conversations, etc. Anytime I think “I like that … that could work for us,” the idea is captured and sent to the “Idea Bank” for future consideration.
So, maintain your own Idea Bank and then you’ll never have to go searching for new ideas or chase “the next great thing.” It will already be waiting for you.