Rituals for money movers at the end of the year.
Updated: Mar 31
It's that time of year when the work you can do is really done.
You're sitting in the uncertainty of not knowing if it will be enough for the mission you work to support. It's an in-between time, like waiting to see if you got the apartment or a table at your favorite spot…or even waiting for a child to be born. It's hard waiting. Grueling waiting. Even if it's not long waiting.
A message to you: You did enough, and you are enough.
A message to your org: You get what you get and you don't throw a fit.
Just kidding. 🙂
But at some level, it is really best to follow the “don't throw a fit” advice from my 4-year-old's beloved and tough teacher Ms. Tammi. It's time to move on. Our jobs have very little control inherent in them. If you took the steps for the strategies you planned on and are set up well to learn from them, you're doing your job. Managers of precious people– this message is especially important for you to receive, and you too, deserve to be able to live by it. If something has stopped you or your team from plotting your strategies or working to achieve them and if you want help getting strategic and focused and adding ease into your work, that's what SVA is here to help you do. For next year. For this year, it's time to receive.
I've found, through 20 years as a fundraiser and from learning alongside a treasured money-mover colleague Elodie Lee, that receiving isn't just a switch flipped. We have to get ourselves there. So each year, we have a practice around the early part of December to begin our rituals for “Switching into Receiving”.
Here are some of the rituals Elodie is practicing this year as she switches into receiving:
The intention that it takes to breathe through the overwhelm, set priorities and carve out space for gratitude is a real practice. Not to get too woo woo, but the darkness in December really gets to me, each night as a personal practice is my advent candle. Sure, it's to count down to Christmas, but it's also a candle lit for quiet reflective time each night in the darkest days of the year. A small act that feels like it creates time to show up for myself and my work. This season, I'm finding a lot of comfort in setting a pace that can create meaningful connections.
Pacing myself with a power hour is a time scheduled with a clear beginning and end that - for me- creates boundaries for writing a response I've been too anxious to get to earlier, or to process some gift analysis that could send me spiraling if I look at it again and again. Work through it, then when the time is up - set it aside. You're doing amazing, sweetie.
Slowing time to be rested, reflective, receptive, and insightful takes doing something that physically slows me down; handwriting a note instead of an email, puzzling, reading, drawing, or small crafts that set a new pace in my personal and professional life. I'm also one who believes fully in the power of "sleeping on it". It means that a better reply or understanding might come tomorrow, or just with time, so when I can respond later - I do (and often more insightfully).
The inbetween: We physically and psychologically can't power through every second of the day/month/our lifetime and I want to be a support to my team and community, so time buffers are the middle ground. In my schedule, especially this time of year, it helps to make sure I have space to handle what comes (a snag in the appeal, a pledge question that takes some detective work, you name it). As possible I keep internal meetings Tues - Thursdays. Mondays and Fridays are longer blocks of time that let me catch up, but also focus, take creative space to think through big concepts, and act on donor outreach that isn't crammed between meetings so I can indulge in the real relational space it takes to have a full and meaningful conversation.
Authentic connection takes time and really fuels me when life's volume has been turned up. I try to shake this by calling a coworker or donor to connect or check in without the usual script or agenda. And food is my love language and literal fuel, so drawing connections by making a meal for myself or a loved one helps me to feel equal parts nurtured and nurturing.
Lastly, look up from your day to day, minute to minute. Picture your work, your letter, your call, yourself in context of the community you're serving, values you're deepening, and connections you're creating to make a better, more just world. It takes time to see your every day moments in the larger context, but take the time.
Inspiration for setting a new pace and connections at year end:
How to Do Nothing by Jenny O'Dell, Resisting the Attention Economy
Pleasure Activism by adrienne marie brown
In Winter, artwork by Ricardo Levins Morales that reminds us "In seed time learn. In harvest teach. In winter enjoy."