n., pl. -teaus, -teaux
v. -teaued, -teau•ing. n.1. a land area having a relatively level surface considerably raised above adjoining land on at least one side.
2. a period or state of little or no growth or decline, esp. one in which increase or progress ceases: to reach a plateau in one's career.v.i.3. to reach a state or level of little or no growth or decline; stabilize
Definitions #2 and #3 have the most significance in fundraising, but definition #1 can be a useful visualization tool.
So how do we get beyond the fundraising plateau?
- Go back to basics. Find something in your fundraising routine that can be improved and work on it. Can your greeting be made more friendly? Can your donation requests be tightened up? What ever it is, work on it. Working on any one issue has the added benefit of providing new perspectives on other issues.
- Ask the donor. Ask donors, whether, they give or not, what they thought of your performance. Most will provide at least one useful bit of information. Some donors will provide so much valuable criticism that you may find yourself reexamining your entire fundraising strategy.
- Ask another fundraiser. Sometimes we let shyness, pride or professional competition get in the way of improving our skills. Every fundraiser, at every stage, goes through the plateau problem. Reach out to your fellow fundraisers and get their advice.
- Become an expert. Often after fundraising for a certain cause for a long time, fundraisers began to feel like experts on the issue. There is always more to learn. Find books magazine articles and any other materials that you can. The more you know about your issue, the better you can fund raise for it.
- Remember, Plateaus aren't permanent. Keep slugging away, doing the best job that you possibly can. Eventually, you will begin to see some progress.
These are just a few of the ways to overcome getting into a rut. Actually the only limitations to becoming a better fundraiser are your imagination and the amount of effort that you are willing to put into improving. Remember, plateau or not, there is always room for improvement.