I was reading a style blog from the Washington Post recently that told the story of Karen Cheng, a former Microsoft employee who taught herself to dance in a year. Now I must admit I am not a frequent style blog follower, but this story intrigued me. While her accomplishment sounded pretty incredible, and she has YouTube video so you can see her progress, she also learned to play guitar, cello, juggle, create origami and several other tasks within the year. According to Karen, and this should come as no surprise, it just requires practice. Practice, and doing something you love to do. This article caused me to think. We who work at nonprofits love what we do, don’t we? After all, our mission-driven organizations attracted us and keep us giving our time and talent to further their causes. Perhaps, if we indeed love what we do, we can apply a small dose of Karen’s techniques to become better fundraisers. A lesson that Karen shares is to make a goal that targets something you are really interested in becoming better at and pursue it regularly and relentlessly. Since you are genuinely interested in achieving a goal, because it is something that matters to you, a year of regular and focused practice will bring surprising results. Perhaps your goal is to become a better public speaker. Start small. Perhaps begin with reading other’s speeches out loud to yourself, taping the exercise for later review. If you began with five minutes a day, and built-in time to review, self-critique you will improve and can build to next steps. Perhaps asking a question or making a statement at a public meeting, could lead to reading something at an open mic night or joining a “Toastmasters'” or speaking club. You are only limited by your desire and imagination.
So this year as fundraisers, let’s set some fundraising resolutions that will help us learn new skills. The biggest barrier to not achieving our goal is not starting or committing to following through. Think about it, the only thing standing between you and a better you one year from now is…well, nothing. Find something you love, commit to doing it and let’s connect in a year to see how you are doing!
Share what you are committing to do this year, in the comments section following this blog!