Fundraising Success – Focus Only On Development

by | Aug 9, 2017 | Development/Fundraising

As you may have guessed, FOOD time is not about food at all. But what it represents does nourish you, and your development skill sets every time you partake.

FOOD time translates into any field but just happens to be an acronym when talking about development work.

FOOD stands for Focus Only On Development.

One of my executive coaching clients created this awesome term last year, and I asked if I could use it.

I explain to all my coaching clients that a vital part of every successful role is setting aside time every week to focus on certain aspects of the job at hand. For fundraising/development staff that is development. I tell each client to pick two days (depending on their job responsibilities) and set aside 2-4 hours on each of those days that are designated as FOOD time.

During FOOD time there are to be no outside appointments, no calls transferred, etc. It is truly a focus on the development tasks that HAVE to get done. Phone calls, setting up appointments, running reports, analyzing metrics, writing hand-written thank-you notes, etc.

One of the most common frustrations I hear is that there is never time to do these things because emergencies always come up, people are always stopping by, people are always calling, etc.

My rule of thumbs for FOOD time is this: If you wouldn’t reschedule a board meeting for it, don’t reschedule your FOOD time for it. Now, for those of you who work with boards, I think you can agree… there is not a lot that will fall into that category. Am I right?

Your FOOD time has to be your priority.

Sometimes I hear EDs say, ‘But so and so called and wanted to meet with me during my FOOD time.’


If you called someone to set a meeting and suggested a time when they had a standing appointment, would you not pick a different time to meet? Yes, you would. If someone wants to meet with you, they will pick another time.

You first have to value your own time enough to make it a priority. Once you do, others will as well.

If you struggle with how to get it all done, I encourage you to set FOOD time for yourself, let your office mates know the rules, shut your door and get to it. Make it a regular day and time, and it will become a habit.  You might be surprised at how much you get done in just a few dedicated, uninterrupted hours.

As you prepare for your 2018 Fundraising Plan, be sure to add FOOD time in to that plan so you can implement your strategies.

Here are some additional fundraising articles:

The Top 5 Things I Wish I Had Know When I Started My Career in Development

7 Donors You Should Be Thinking About

Key Aspects of Leading a Strong (and Happy) Development Team

Keep Growing for Good!


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