Stephen Covey’s classic, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, is a must-read for any Jewish leader who wants to be more productive and effective.

Using these 7 Habits, I’ll pinpoint some key take-homes, that will give you an immediate boost in your fundraising productivity.

Covey’s 7 Habits are:

  1. Proactivity
  2. Begin with the End on Mind
  3. First Things First
  4. Think Win-Win
  5. Seek First to Understand, then to Be Understood
  6. Synergy
  7. Sharpen the Saw


Covey’s First Habit, Proactivity, is about “recognizing our responsibility to make things happen.”

You’re where you are today, as a Jewish leader, because you’re proactive.

Covey encourages us to examine our own level of proactivity. Where do we spend the most time and energy? He says a proactive person will focus only on the things he/she can change.

In our fundraising – Proactivity is obviously key. Money does not get raised without us being proactive!

Being aware of how many times a week we proactively pursue funding opportunities is a key indicator to what future fundraising success we can expect to see.

How many times a week are you being proactive, moving new or existing opportunities forward? Is this enough?

Alongside your personal proactivity, you can develop a culture and mindset amongst your team, board or volunteers to be proactive. This can be the catalyst to open up new funding opportunities outside of your own abilities and connections. Your team or board don’t have to actually do the fundraising, they just have to know what you need and what they can do to help you facilitate this.

Begin with the End on Mind

Covey’s Second Habit is about understanding the outcomes you want to see, from any task or journey, before you begin.

Knowing where you’re headed is always going to benefit you while you’re on the journey.

One question I ask often when working with Jewish leaders is, ‘What outcome do you want to see from this meeting or opportunity?”

It can take time to get that clarity. But once you have it, it’s a different world in terms of the efforts you’ll make moving forward.

In our fundraising Begin with the End in Mind maintain the big picture i.e., our vision. What are we trying to achieve this year? How much do we need to raise?

We also need to focus on the details i.e., how much to ask each donor to contribute. What do we need to do to develop a relationship with each donor? The clarity in both the big picture and the details are essential components of being highly effective in our fundraising.

First Things First

Covey’s Third Habit First Things First is the ability to take action.

This depends on having the clarity of “Beginning with the End in Mind.”

To do this, we need to break down our work into action steps, what we need to do to reach our end goal.

In our fundraising, a big challenge is the ambiguity of the steps we need to take to reach our goal. Having a clarity of at least what we need to do NEXT is a major part of the battle.

Ask yourself, in any situation you find yourself in: What’s my next step? In fundraising, this can often mean doing something, anything since the biggest stumbling block I’ve found is doing nothing.


Avraham Lewis guides great people, with amazing projects, to change their current reality and up their fundraising game and personal productivity, through effective mindsets, strategies and techniques that have a track record of raising more funds. 

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