I’m one of the lucky few…

When AFP Congress ended yesterday, I had the great fortune to hop in my car for the four hour drive back to Ottawa. I had a chance to reflect, digest and yes, think.

The one thought that came back into my head over and over again was sparked by Tony Elisher’s closing plenary – particularly his show-and-tell portion on guerilla marketing. Tony showed us brilliant yet inexpensive campaigns mounted by charities and causes that really caught attention – and raised dollars in an innovative way.

And it occured to me that imaginative thinking is such a rare commodity with fundraisers these days. Take a look at your charity – at your fundraising program. I’ll bet you’re running pretty much the same program you ran last year. Not only that, I’ll bet that you’ll run pretty much the same program next year too (although maybe with a little less staff and a little less budget).

My friends, we’re being squeezed. Squeezed by our Boards and Executive Directors. Squeezed by our budgets. Squeezed by the never-ending uncertainty in the economy.

So I have a proposition for you – for us – ALL of us.

Let’s make our New Year’s Resolution right here, right now.

Let’s all resolve to set out – and protect – some creative thinking time for 2012. Say 90 minutes a week. Come to work late on Wednesdays. Go sit in a park at lunchtime on Fridays (even in the winter!). Book a meeting with a colleague and go sit somewhere unusual – maybe your local public library – and talk about ‘what if?’

We all have the same goal.

We want to connect deeply and powerfully with our donors. We want them to commit to us heart, mind and soul. Doing that takes creativity and imagination. So I’ll declare right here and right now that energy spent on imagining what might be is JUST AS IMPORTANT as doing up that budget spreadsheet or working on those staff evaluation reports.

Let’s change in 2012. Let’s take 90 minutes every week (that’s only 3% of your worktime based on a 50 hour week). Let’s imagine. Let’s create. Let’s do something special and different.


Because our donors deserve nothing less than our creative best.