Fundraising Tip: Finish What is Stressing You Out

Cross it off of your list and move on.

Dan Hanley
2 min readNov 24, 2023


Author. Photo credit: Author

In fundraising, and in work in general, I’ve come to realize that working with a list is helpful.

Not a do-everything by Friday list. A list that includes the important tasks at hand, some large, some small.

As nonprofit fundraisers there seems to be a common occurance as we move forward in our work: something that is more stressful than others.

It could be as simple as a response to a board member or setting up a face-to-face meeting with a donor.

And it could be something huge like your yearend direct mail appeal copy.

Regardless, the fundraising tip here is to tackle what is stressing you out and move on. Don’t keep putting something off that is causing stress. The longer it stays on your list and the longer you put it off, the longer you will continue to have stress.

Stress that is not helpful, and doesn’t support your overall efforts in building relationships and adding to your fundraising.

Many times calendaring something can be helpful in accomplishing it and moving. My calendar is my go-to for everything, meaning everything is on it. Having begin and completion dates for items, especially those that can cause me stress, is super helpful in making sure I have reminders to get them done and off of my plate.

It’s also helpful to bring the team in, or whoever, if anyone, is part of accomplishing this item. Have honest, transparent discussions on timelines and expectations. When I think about this, and about communication in general, I remember that what is most important to me is not necessarily most important to everyone else.

I know it’s easy to put off items that may seem overwhelming at the moment. Try your best to work through that and take action. When the item or items on your list that are causing you stress are completed, you’ll feel so much better.

Then you’ll be able to have a clearer focus on other items.

This solution is simple, and one easy to put off. I definitely have expereince with that. Working diligently on what needs to be done keeps me positive, focused, and ready to not be in stress anymore.

Give it a try.

Take a risk. Be of service. Support your friends and colleagues. Be kind.



Dan Hanley

I write about nonprofits, fundraising, recruiting, self-care. Human rights, domestic violence, borders and refugee focused. Sober. Vegan.