You Say You Want a Revolution?

john-lennon-peaceWe all want to change the world (as John Lennon sang), but those of us working in nonprofit fundraising actually are changing the world. The problem is we don’t always remember that.

Instead we get caught up in meetings, copy deadlines, fundraising targets, and the many more mundane trappings of our jobs. We begin to wear out. We wonder if what we do matters.

That’s why the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ International Conference #AFPFC in Boston was such a powerful and important event this year. Over and over again the presenters challenged us to step back and really look at what our actions are creating. And the speakers pushed us to keep working for our broader, world-changing goals.

For those of you who weren’t there, here are some words of wisdom to give you something to think about, incite action, and make you feel good about all you do.

From Kofi Annan: “Never forget you are helping to make the world a better place.”

Jennie Thompson echoed the sentiment by saying: “We have such an opportunity to inspire people and bring them to a cause.”

So take a moment to reflect on how YOU are inspiring people and making the world a better place. Then decide what more you can do.

Perhaps as Kumi Naidoo said you need to, “Shake more forcefully the fundamentals of our society to create a more just world.”

How do you do that? It’s certainly not easy. As Roger Craver said, “I don’t think you can do this work decently unless you are filled with a healthy amount of outrage.”

And, keep in mind, as Simone Joyeaux pointed out: “When you start talking about justice, some people will not like it.”

I personally believe it’s worth it, and that part of what makes fundraising and nonprofit marketing such an exciting area in which to work are the brave people who we get to do it with.

So, as Andrew Watt said, “Let’s develop a sense of collective, shared identity and push beyond our comfort zones to transform lives.”

We can do it, and I bet we’ll even have some fun along the way.

After all, as Daryl Upsall said, “The rebels have the best songs.”

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3 Responses to You Say You Want a Revolution?

  1. Eddie Swayze says:

    Awesome! Interesting and good quotes to think things over. Keep up the good work.


  2. Robert Ayles says:

    The conference was terrific. I keep thinking about how one presenter urged us all in the non-profit sector to imagine what is possible instead of relying on bench marking and working towards what is likely. I found that to be incredibly powerful to think about. We all benchmark against peers and aspirational peers but how many of us are thinking of new and better ways to accomplish our goals? How many of us dare to create a whole new way of doing the work? Fundraising conferences give us a format to hear what others have done and bring that wisdom back to our own shops and our own work to try for ourselves. This fundraising conference dared us to consider what has not yet been done, imagine it, create it and go after it to make our outcomes even better for the people we serve.

  3. The problem is the compounding stress that those of us at that are actually and physically working at change have to face!
    We have amazing results from our effective projects. Some even bigger than the major Non Profits at our Non Profit in Johannesburg, South Africa.
    We have been in operation now for 15 years! We have built up a solid and impeccable reputation!
    We offer popular societal improvement projects based upon community wants and needs!
    We are legally registered, run by a board, tax exempted and annually audited!
    Sounds great doesn’t it?
    Then why do we stay small and why have we no professional fundraisers?
    Simply because we cannot afford fundraisers! Not for a lack of trying, but due to our tiny annual budget, no fundraisers will consider to assist us!
    And so we continue to sacrifice and the stress about struggles to make ends meet every month-end continues to compound, but the achievements, the needs and the gratitude of those that we serve continue to drive us on!
    If we are then to “make the world a better place” as per Koffi Annan, why the can we not do this together?

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