When the year began, we had some fun making the connection between the year 2020 and 20/20 vision.  And it made me wonder about whether we have visual acuity when it comes to fundraising.

Visual acuity is the ability to see clearly and sharply at a given distance. So if you have 20/20 vision, considered “normal” vision, you can see an object clearly at a distance of 20 feet. If you have 20/40 vision, you see at 20 feet what a person with normal vision sees at 40 feet. If you have 20/100 vision, it means that you must be as close as 20 feet to see what a person with normal vision can see at 100 feet and so on.

When it comes to the health of your fundraising programs — whether P2P, annual or major giving — what is your visual acuity? Are you able to clearly see all of the opportunities and challenges in front of you? Do you need to take a few steps back or even be standing 100 feet away to see the full picture? Is the current pandemic blurring your vision entirely or can you only see what’s up close?

It is natural to be hyper-focused on the here and now, especially in an emergency like the one we are in today. Marketing needs to change; events need to be postponed, rescheduled or virtualized; and revenue recovery plans need to go into effect. We become so focused on our current situation that it can difficult to look further ahead, resulting in a potential opportunity passing us by.

We don’t have a crystal ball to tell us how long this crisis will last or what the future holds, but there are actions we can take — right now — to help secure a brighter future.

Ask yourself, does my organization have a change management process to identify an opportunity, evaluate it and, if appropriate, implement it? For many the answer is no. The fundraising world is constantly evolving and what has worked for years is showing signs of fatigue.

Many are questioning if the programs they have in place (e.g., email campaigns, walk events) are on the way out. I have even heard the phrase “Flat is the new black,” but in reality, many organizations are seeing incredible growth and fundraising success by pausing to take a breath, really look at what is going on around them, and design new campaigns and fundraising programs that appeal in today’s world. The secret to their success? Visual acuity.


Loved hearing from Sue and wondering how she could help your organization with its visual acuity?