>This week through the wonder of the Internet and this amazing community of blogging women that I am trying to so hard to live up to, I came across Kelle Hampton. She is beautiful. She has two beautiful girls. She is creative. She is inspiring. Below is a video from Kelle about her efforts to raise money for the Down Syndrome Society. As a fundraiser, you cannot get a better ask than this…personal, passionate, creative, touching. As a mother, I’ve given to her efforts and I hope you will too. Watch this video below:
>This just makes my heart happy. Watch this video….
Actually, just heard on ESPN radio seconds after seeing this for the first time that the Cleveland Cavaliers have hired him and put him in a house. Seriously.
Sitting on a call today with representatives from a few different events, I was once again asked for “best practices” that will help to make an event successful. I always have had a hard time with best practices…they seem like such a cop out…like you are saying if I just do what they are doing, I can be successful. I believe that Jeff Brooks said it best:
“Best Practices” are supposed to be about not making stupid mistakes. Too often, thought, “best practices” end up meaning risk aversion and creativity avoidance. It is great to know what you are doing. But if you zero in completely on doing everything in the standard way, you won’t achieve greatness. You may avoid embarrassing errors, but you won’t go beyond the middle.
Truer words have never been spoken. In fundraising and in life, you cannot follow a set path…we must set our own ways. It is important to know how others have tried and failed or tried and succeeded, but to follow someone’s exact steps will get you no where.
If we never go beyond following other’s paths, we will never find our own and our own innovative success. Yes, I could give someone a manual for doing an event, a checklist for logistics, and job descriptions for volunteers, but I cannot give anyone the sure fire path for event fundraising or even career success. We can only hope that one can spark some creativity and provide an environment where innovation and risk is rewarded and encouraged and failure while being innovative and trying something new is seen as part of the process of growth.
Doing something innovative or amazing often means you don’t know what you are doing, it’s not a best practice. And it might fail. But it might succeed in a breakout way. – Jeff Brooks
Innovation is no longer a suggestion – it is a necessity. We must work to stand out, we must aim to be the best or we will be left behind or left for our competition. Taking risks is against our physical make up, but something we must overcome if we want to further our organization’s mission and fundraising. Sometimes we will fail, we will make stupid mistakes, we will not create best practices. But that one time go beyond best and into the land of promising ideas could make all the difference in the world.
I spent some time today with a client who was running into some issues with market expansion for her fundraiser. She had a good amount of people coming back, but not alot of new people that were willing to commit. Her fundraiser has been around for a long time, has a long history, and has been seeing a bit of a decline over the last few years. She was looking for advice for how to get people to get involved again.
I hear this alot – an event stalls or people are falling off in involvement and support. When you dig deeper as to why that is the case, most of the time is because the event hasn’t evolved and the relationship has died. the organization or the event specifically hasn’t reinvented itself. It is no longer sexy – and in a world where you are competing with so many other great organizations for dollars and time, sexy sells.
Think of it like a relationship – why do you think most marriages fail right around the seven year mark? Because we are constantly reinventing ourselves. Learning, growing, expanding who we are and who we want to be. I once read (and I wish I could find it again) that our personalities are totally different every 7 years because of that very fact. If we aren’t doing it in concert with our partners, constantly getting to know each other, date each other, and romance each other, many relationships fall apart. You wake up one day and don’t even know each other.
As fundraisers, we need to look at our donors and participants the same way. We need to keep talking, learning, and growing with each other. Find new ways to connect. Keep each other excited. Expose each other to new opportunities to spread your message and reinvent your fund raising campaigns and events. Learn about what is important to each other. Keep it fresh, keep it new, keep it sexy.