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Summer Reflections: Emotional Intelligence

August 15, 2017

By Jen Love and Beth Ann Locke

Today, we’re writing to share some practical and simple steps to help you build and hone your emotional intelligence skills. If you and your team want to reach your peak effectiveness, developing your personal emotional intelligence is essential. Emotional intelligence (sometimes called EQ) starts with examining and exploring your ideal self.

Fundraisers are curious people

We see you. We know that you spend time, attention and focus researching trends and reflecting on what you see, read and hear. But when was the last time you were intentionally curious about your emotional range at work?

Being self-aware is important for your own happiness and sense of fulfillment, but it’s also a vital step in being able to understand the emotions and responses of others, and that understanding is central to emotional intelligence.

Self-awareness is your ability to identify your own emotions, to recognize your strengths and weaknesses, and to connect patterns in your behaviour. In your workplace, you will be a better fundraiser and a better teammate if you can be honest with yourself about the traits that serve you, and also about those that don’t. Becoming more self-aware means you recognize your own emotional responses, identify those that don’t serve you as well, learn to catch them early and adjust yourself accordingly. 

Start today

Here’s something you can do that we have also committed to doing over the next week at work. Take some time and simply observe your emotions throughout the day. If you like to note them on paper or on your phone, go ahead. The key is to remain curious instead of judging yourself about the feelings.

For example, you are prepping to call a donor and you notice you’re feeling anxious. Take a moment to sit. You don’t have to talk yourself up or talk yourself down. You can just take a moment to acknowledge it. “Hmm. I’m feeling a bit anxious.” You may recall that there is a past history with the donor. Or you may consider that you prefer in-person meetings. You may be fearful that the outcome of this call will be negative.

Now reflect on a previous call that went very well, perhaps with this donor or with another. Reflect for a moment on that call from last week that made you smile. Imagine how you made that donor feel, and how they made you feel. What can you do to make this upcoming call feel good for the donor and for you, too? 

Building self-awareness starts with an accurate perception of your emotions (so if you are prone to judging yourself for emotions you are experiencing, let that go). The second stage is being aware of them as they happen. Awareness of your emotional state can help you to make informed decisions about how you choose to behave toward yourself and others, including donors, colleagues, family and friends. That is the start of a powerful evolution. 

We would love to hear from you with your reflections on what we’ve been sharing on emotional intelligence. If you’ve missed our past posts, here are some links below: 

What else would you like us to explore in this series? Please feel free to comment below, tweet Jen or Beth, or email Jen or Beth. Thank you!


Jen @,

Beth @,

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