Knowing-Doing Part 2 – Fear Keeps us from Doing….

08/09/2009 at 11:00 Leave a comment


So in Knowing-Doing Part 1, I wrote about how we may learn or know something, but may not act on it because talk substitutes for action or institutional memory/history/assumptions keep us from being creative or implementing change.

In this post I want to continue on the knowing v. doing theme and how a fear of failure or distrust keeps us from trying something new or implementing what we know is right. As you know, the focus of my consulting practice is on fundraising. I know changing fundraising practices is tough. Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke – but I want to know if we are getting the biggest bang for our buck in every fundraising activity. Change is sometimes what’s needed to take a leap and see a better result.

“What companies need is a forgiveness framework..not a failure framework, to encourage risk taking and empower employees to be thinking leaders rather than passive executives.”
Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School

If we are working in an environment of fear and distrust, we cannot do our best work. We have to be willing to fail (a little) in order to learn. If we continue to do the same activity over and over with the same result – well we all know what that is. Can we settle for the same result in our annual giving, major gifts or special events? We can’t afford to. We need to change things up and be willing to learn – sometimes by failing.

If you know something is wrong or not working – change it!

Assumption: Volunteers don’t give money – they give time. If we ask them for money, they’ll get mad. Don’t upset them.
Truth: Volunteers give more on average than other donors
Do: Include all volunteers in annual appeals. Personalize the letter to speak to about what volunteering does for your organization. Ask other volunteer donors to sign the letter. Recognize them with an * in donor lists.

Assumption: Major donors have given all they can
Truth: Major donors can and will give more when cultivated appropriately and by the right people
Do: Continue to talk to major donors (all donors for that matter) even in this economy. We have to love our donors in good times and bad. We can’t stop asking – we have to have conversations and see where they go.

Assumption: Board members know what their responsibilities are
Truth: It is our responsibility to teach and show Board members
Do: Treat them like you treat a major donor

No fear of failure. Stand up for what you know is right. Sometimes it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission. Go forth and prosper!

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Entry filed under: Fundraising, Resources You Can Use!. Tags: , , , , .

Knowing-Doing Gap Part 1 – Why is there a Gap? Random Moment of Goodness

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