In my book The Vigilant Fundraiser, senior fundraisers outline 12 steps for creating an effective fundraising program. What is that thing that sets some charities so far above the rest? It’s vigilance. Vigilance is the secret ingredient that will make the steps — all best practice activities — work for your organization.

There are two types of fundraisers out there: ones who work from their office — often closed off from people and outside interactions. Then there is the fundraiser who is truly “out there” being vigilant to opportunities and meeting the people who make magic happen.

What frustrates me is when I see fundraisers eating lunch at their desks instead of going to the cafeteria and interacting with people around them. A fundraiser’s network starts where they live. Vigilance starts when you open yourself up to the possibilities of what is happening around you.

Are you being vigilant? Do you know how to assess whether your plan has been a success?

The vigilant fundraiser is one that is constantly on the lookout for opportunities to support an organization’s long-term sustainability.

The vigilant fundraiser looks for ways to make the most of this experience, learning from the past to plan for the future.