Conference Roundup: Get Uncomfortable
Being wrong just might be the rightest thing you ever do.
So says Jon Duschinsky, founder of Paris-based Bethechange Consulting. In his session, “Breaking Out of Your Creative Comfort Zone,” at the 2008 Bridge Conference in Washington, D.C., last month, Duschinsky said turning things upside down and not being afraid of making mistakes can put fundraisers on a new road to success.
“Think about preparation for your next board meeting. Who’s prepared to make a mistake? The culture now is it’s not OK to be wrong,” Duschinsky said. “We get educated out of our creativity. It’s time to change.”
Organizations should be investing time, energy and money into finding their next great fundraising idea, he said, advising that nonprofits should be willing and able to plunk 10 percent of their budgets into research and development.
“If you’re not embracing change, I don’t want to be here in five or 10 years to tell the tale,” he said. “You have to be challenging yourself and your organization.”
Duschinsky pointed to Apple as an example. The consumer electronics and software powerhouse created 81 products before coming up with its uber-popular iPhone, he said, adding, “You should have 81 fundraising ideas, or at least be looking at 10 or five.”
When it comes to fundraising, Duschinsky said there are four key questions an organization needs to answer for its donors and potential donors.
1. Why do you really need my money?
“The quality of communication is important,” he said. “It must get [donors] from their hearts to their heads to their wallets.”
He encouraged fundraisers and development officers to sit around with staff and keep asking “why” until they get to the meat of why it is important to give to their organization.
“At the end you’ll have a new mission statement and have communication to get people excited,” Duschinsky said.