I have had the most amazing week!
I received a book in the mail from a friend from far away. Do you know Brené Brown the author and sociologist? The book I received was Daring Greatly. Haven’t heard of her? Stop what you’re doing and watch this video NOW.
Brene’s work is all about letting yourself be vulnerable- to let yourself “be seen” by others, messy parts and all. (Here’s my blog post about providing board members with a space so they can be vulnerable with each other.) I think as fundraisers – especially in isolated, small shops – we think we can figure things out, get to the end of the appeal letter, the to do list, and the board retreat documents if we just work harder, put in more hours and cram one more thing onto our already busy work week.
Fundraisers are not good at letting themselves be vulnerable (and I am including myself in this bucket!) We are crappy at saying “I need help.” And if we get to the point of needing help, we have no idea who to turn to because by then we’ve cut ourselves off from the very community that might be able to help…because we’ve been too busy.
We need to change this.
Volunteer task forces are a great way to change your organization’s “Death Star” practices. Grab a group of your volunteers and “task” them with addressing ONE area of the organization that is not working.
Who should you invite on your task force journey? Keep the group small to make sure everyone is able to participate - somewhere between 4 and 6 people. Include at least one staff member who can give context to your discussions. With the right mandate, task forces can be empowered to really clean things up. Task forces are attractive to new volunteers because they are:
Finite – They involve a specific number of meetings, and a short-term commitment;
Specific – Volunteers have the opportunity to “get closer” to the organization without having to sit on a board.
Outcome-driven – There is nothing like that feeling of getting something done to charge up a volunteer.
It’s a three syllable word that, in the wilderness, is the difference between life and death. Here in civilization, belonging may be slightly less dire, but it still packs a pretty big wallop. In other words, you may not live and die by your association with a local non-profit, but the sense of connection that comes with “belonging” to such a group may significantly contribute to the sense of “wholeheartedness” in your life.
Let me back up a bit and introduce you to Brené Brown. She is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work who has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame.
I was introduced to Brené Brown though a creativity workshop. Since then, I have shared this TEDtalks video of Brené countless times. Please watch it. Really. I mean it. Twenty minutes to a more authentic life is what I am asking you for.