Reminding: “Both Oregon and Washington States led the nation in reducing driving speeds to conserve gasoline before Federal limits were passed. A speed limit sign [cropped from photo] and a reminder sign are shown along Interstate 5.” Image by Environmental Protection Agency, uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by David Falconer, Photographer (NARA record: 1427627), accessed via Creative Commons Search.


I recently estimated to a soul-colleague that sometimes up to a third of my work has been reminding people to do things they’ve already agreed to do.

Fundraisers reading this will nod. Mothers and fathers will nod. Many organized souls will also nod.

Reminding is valuable work. Here are my top five tips:

1. Keep Good Notes

Remember what they agreed to. Exactly. To remind, you have to remember!

2. Be Brave

It’s easy enough to get agreement, especially in this overcommitted, over-informed, hyperactive, attention-deficit age. “Yes” = Go Away. So reminding someone when they said yes that they said yes, and it meant something can actually be quite challenging. It can require bravery.

3. Be Persistent

Continue to remind them until it’s time to let it go, give up, and move on. (See #5.) You can use the same method over and over or you can alternate methods. Be simple, clear, consistent in your messaging, whatever method you use.

4. Do NOT Apologize

Don’t take on their feeling bad they haven’t done what they said they’d do. Don’t even project that they feel bad. But if you feel bad reminding, it may be because your heart is not yet pure: maybe there is something you said you’d do! Do it, and you’ll feel better. Or renegotiate! That is totally legit. Then keep your word.

5. Give Up When It’s Time

There comes a point–and you should determine it in advance and not in the throes of frustration–to give up, let go, and move on. Find another way, and do not look back. When I am raising funds by telephone (yes, that’s a thing, and a good thing), if I don’t catch my person, I leave a voicemail, like a normal human. I do the same a second time. On the third try, I also leave a voicemail informing the donor I will not call again. (And of course, I don’t!) I let them know (again, sincerely) how much we’d love them to give, and give them a way to reach me. I’ve been shocked at how many people call back.

If you liked our short list, you might like this one, “Chunking Up a Big Project.” Reminding is part of the skillset it teaches.

If you would like help reminding, chunking up a big task, or getting ninja-organized, please contact us? We’d genuinely enjoy helping. We eat this stuff for breakfast.

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