Goals Schmoals

Jun 05, 2024

I’m the oldest of three. Yes, I have all the characteristics of an oldest child. Guilty as charged. Perhaps all oldest children are like me, but I embrace those quirks. I think many of those traits have helped me to be successful in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. So, what are those qualities exactly?

To learn a bit more, I did what we all do and I ‘Googled’ oldest child characteristics. All the articles are essentially the same. Oldest children modeled after our parents, so we often take charge, have confidence, and are ambitious. As first-time parents, many are over-protective, strict, and demanding; that can lead to some tightly wound perfectionists in the house. Also guilty as charged--but in a good way, like they say on Buddy the Elf.

So, it should surprise no one that when my mom told us kids to clean our rooms, I understood the assignment. Not only did I accomplish the goal, but I made sure my brother and sister followed the rules, too. That might be where some of the take charge trait (read: bossiness) kicked it.

It’s not hard, even for a kid, to know what the end goal is and achieve it. Maybe that’s why I’ve always loved Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleBegin with the End in Mind was always one of my favorite habits. But it wasn’t long before I realized that the end goals weren’t the only thing that was needed. When you’re wrangling siblings, have a big task, or are working with many people that must help you get to that goal, you need a system.

Stephen Covey quote: Begin with the end in mind.

Because I was born in the Elvis Era, my middle name was chosen after his daughter, Lisa Marie Presley. But, “Systems” might have been a better choice, in hindsight. Dawn Systems Brown…it has a nice ring to it. I have always been a systems thinker. And that was clear to see when I asked my mom for a white poster board so I could make a chore chart. There was no way I was getting stuck with all the cleaning just because I was the oldest. So, I got my markers, made a chart, and hung it on the inside door of the pantry. We went over it weekly to dole out assignments. I like to say it was my first-born ambition that took over. I’m sure my siblings would word that differently. Alas, the chores got done.

Homemade Diy Chore Chart Ideas

Then, just last month I came across a video that made it all make sense. The guy said, ‘You do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems’.  <mind blown> Marinate on that for a moment, will you?

His argument was that everybody at the beginning of a race has the same goal…to win. Since everyone can’t possibly win, it doesn’t matter who has the best goals, it matters who executes the best systems to prepare for that race. <mind blown again> It’s simple genius.

You work for a nonprofit. You love your mission. Your donors love your mission. But your goal can’t just be to raise money. Every nonprofit has that goal. You need to create a system that will help you raise those funds.

Do you have a fundraising ‘chore chart’? I do. And truth be told, I ran a bit behind last month, but I’ll be caught up by the end of the week. I know this because I have every week of this year fully planned out. I know when I’ll be writing donor stewardship/marketing letters. I know when I’ll be sending them.  I know who I’ll be sending them to and I know what the topic of information will be that I’m sharing. Heck, I can even tell you what I sent out two years ago today if you really wanted to know! We plan our work and work our plan.

I’m not simply relying on the end goal, although my systems are always set up with the end goal in mind—to win. Yes, win. I am not athletic, but I am competitive, and I want to win. Winning to me means achieving those goals by steadily executing an intentional system.

Trying to win based merely off the same goal everyone else has will get you tired, but it won’t get you results. You can work less and raise more with a system.

July is approaching, you’re at the halfway point of 2024. If you don’t already have a system for communications with your donors, create one now. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. If you have a system but have faltered with the implementation or noticed that it’s not quite working as you had intended, pivot. You make the rules; you can change the rules. You don’t have to be a first-born child or wait until the end of the calendar year or your fiscal year to make changes. If it’s broken, you can fix it—now.

If it's broke ... Fix it! - Flock Marketing

Let me say it again for those in the back, ‘You do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems’. You’re a smart cookie! Rise to the level of your goals because you have a system!

As athletes across the globe are preparing right now for the Summer Olympics in Paris, there isn’t one out there that isn’t following a training regimen. That’s their system to set them up for the best chance to bring home gold. In fact, that very system is what got them to the Summer Olympics in the first place.

2024 Paris Olympics Logo - Primary Logo - Summer Olympics (Summer ...

If you want to be the best (or simply to do better), you need a system. I know you know this. The question is, are you doing this? I’ve been doing it for a decade and our Foundation has doubled in size. Need a donor communication blueprint to use as your marketing chore chart? Just ask me and I'll happily share one with you. Remember, it’s my Sharing Era.

Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Merrily,

[email protected]
dawn brown creative, llc. 

P.S. Fundraising is hard, even though you make it look
oh-so easy! ♥

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