'3 Mindset Shifts' That Can Create Positive Change
You could shoot a .22 in any direction you please and not hit anybody smarter than my old Western Civilization professor Ben Wright. In addition to being an intellectual heavyweight, he was an academic's academic. So when he quoted an article he'd read in TV Guide one day, the whole class raised their eyebrows as well as their heads.
I doubt anybody remembers the point he was making, but the takeaway, which stuck with me and plenty of others, was this: You can find interesting and useful information in the most surprising places. That is why I was browsing the website of Outreach Magazine, an industry publication for evangelical ministers, which I, to put it mildly, am not.
That's where I found this article entitled "3 Mindset Shifts for Change Agents." The author, Bobby Gruenewald, makes the case that sometimes what we think is good for us isn't. He takes three popular clichés and turns them upside down or at least illustrates that they also have a dark side that one should consider. As you read through these, change the word "church" to "organization" (unless you are a church, of course). You may be surprised at how relevant they are to fundraisers.
"1. Outside the box — Inside the box
Outside-the-box thinking is a great way to produce interesting ideas that are terrible solutions. We need to embrace our constraints instead of ignoring or resisting them. Whether you're feeling limitations with staff, finances, location or other areas, flip that perceived weakness to a strength — because it is! New, innovative solutions will emerge when we think inside the box.
2. Failure is not an option — Failure is a requirement
The ideas that are going to influence our culture are going to involve risk, and there will be failure along the way. We can't allow our fear of failure to prevent us from trying. In our striving to avoid offending anyone, losing money or wasting time, we shut ourselves off from our full potential and becoming the church God created us to be.
3. The way things are — Culture of change
Decades ago, the church seemed to reach a comfort level of operating and decided to hit the collective pause button. We didn't change, even when it hurt us to stay the same. We started seeing change as a noun instead of a verb — something we did once. We need to reverse this way of thinking. If we freeze our church where we are right now, we'll be desperately behind in just a few years. Change needs to become a posture, a steady rhythm ingrained in our leadership."
I might add to the list:
- Perception is reality — Reality is reality.
- It was just meant to be — Something went wrong for a reason, and maybe it can be prevented from going wrong again if we try to understand the problem instead of passing the buck to "fate."
Fundraising is an ever-challenging, ever-changing endeavor. To rise above the status quo requires more than relying on motivational clichés. So when you hear people in your organization talk about innovative thinking, encourage them to put a little less emphasis on the innovative and little more on the thinking.
Willis Turner believes great writing has the power to change minds, save lives, and make people want to dance and sing. Willis is the creative director at Huntsinger & Jeffer. He worked as a lead writer and creative director in the traditional advertising world for more than 15 years before making the switch to fundraising 20 years ago. In his work with nonprofit organizations and associations, he has written thousands of appeals, renewals and acquisition communications for every medium. He creates direct-response campaigns, and collateral communications materials that get attention, tell powerful stories and persuade people to take action or make a donation.