MindfulMarCom: A Model for Calm Confidence in Fundraising and Marketing

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As fundraising and marketing professionals, we’re all familiar with stress and less-than-harmonious work environments, and this stress comes from many areas:

  • The endlessly changing, conflicting, and compounding deadlines and directives from “above”
  • Poor internal communication
  • The inability to forecast
  • The inherent knowledge that if you just had more time you could be more efficient and effective with your work

I’ll bet, as you’re reading this, you’re thinking of the five new things that just hit your desk or the key team member who just called in sick who you're going to have to cover for ... Argh! Right?

It's enough to make anyone a wreck. It affects your confidence and promotes anything but a calm space in which to think clearly and create.

The good news is, you’re not alone. People struggle with this problem everywhere.

The bad news is, you’re not alone. People struggle with this problem everywhere, and it never seems to get any better.

The solution for organizations is much like what many have learned in their personal lives. What many cultures have known for centuries (and what mounting evidence suggests is true) is that when we discover that we’re …

  • Not where we want to be in life
  • Stressed out
  • Easily distracted or preoccupied
  • Not in control of our mental and physical state
  • Generally unhappy

... the practice of mindfulness can reverse many of these symptoms and is a key ingredient in happiness.

A Good Model for Business

Regardless of where you stand on the relative merits of mindfulness practice in your personal life, the benefits of mindfulness when applied loosely to business are hard to ignore:

Mindfulness improves organizational health and happiness by helping you become more aware of and maintain focus on what you’re doing from moment to moment and by making you more willing to explore what you can learn in those moments without judgment (viewing both "success" and "failure" as opportunities to learn).

The objective is not to literally apply mindfulness techniques to business (though not necessarily a bad idea), but to adopt a mindful approach to how you work and help address some of the most common and frustrating challenges facing fundraisers and marketers.

Where to Start?

The first step is to take a few moments periodically to observe what you and your team are doing day in and day out without applying labels. Activities and processes are not "good," "bad," "efficient," "ineffective," "counterproductive," or anything else; they simply represent what you do.

This act of observing without judgment can have a remarkable calming effect. Once you’ve done this for a while, you’ll begin to realize opportunities to learn from every activity.

In future posts I’ll share how your team can harness what you observe and create a thoughtful and systematic process for capturing and benefiting from these lessons. These practices will have a dramatic impact on your team’s efficiency and effectiveness, and in turn, on its confidence.