Any way you look at it, the glass at the front of your car is completely empty. It actually drains productivity from your day. In the sales world we call this “windshield time”. It seems like a good enough term for the fundraising world. To combat this productivity draining time in sales, we develop territory plans. These plans help us to clump together our windshield time and our productive appointment time.
Before you suggest that my territory is too small for some sort of plan, answer this: are there parts of your territory that routinely require you to drive 25 minutes plus from your base of operations? It is easy to think 25 minutes, one way, as not that much area, but that is actually about an hour of “windshield time”. If you go and comeback for 2 or 3 appointments in a day, that is 2-3 hours of productivity you lost (and may be making up after hours).
To set up your territory plan requires an investment in time, but this investment is one that provides high return. I have included one I used at the Red Cross for reference. Break your territory into 3-6 sectors based on where you have to drive to most often. Define the boundaries by something you can identify. Zip codes and/or street names are what I typically used because they are in your database and I could sort them to see what I had in each sector. This sorting leads me to the next part.
What did I have in my database/ portfolio already based on the sectors I had created? What was in the organizational database that I did not have? This is how I would decide if I had my sectors broken up well, or if I need to split off another sector or if I needed to merge or redraw the lines. This part of the exercise is to make sure the sectors are manageable, but the key is to focus on eliminating time behind the windshield.
Then here comes the most challenging part, setting a schedule. Identifying how you will set appointments and work these sectors. If you only have 3 or 4 sectors, it is an easy schedule to set up. You probably have a couple sectors which require more of your time (ie-weekly), and some that require less (ie-semi-weekly or monthly). Then you can set up a daily schedule that includes office days, and appointment days for each sector. See included graphic.
Finally, get intimately familiar with each sector. Know the corporate sponsors who are present. Know all the donors in that sector, even the ones that are technically not yours. Know the 3rd party fundraisers or local events supporting the organization. That way, when you are in each sector, you can maximize activity and hopefully results. In addition, find local fare, where people can get familiar with you in that sector. A place you can meet people if you need to. Find a place that has wi-fi that can be your local office in that sector.
Turn this empty glass into a full appointment calendar, or even some extra time with the people you care about most!