Dare to do
There are hundreds of fundraisers across the country making their way back into their offices today after the 2012 Dare to be Different FIA Conference. As the conference clashed with annual leave I had requested about 5 months ago, I only attended one day of the conference.
The theme of the opening address from American fundraiser, Kay Sprinkel Grace was dare to dream. As a data monkey and not one of those creative marketers, I found the speech difficult to absorb. I could see it was well crafted, well researched and was designed to inspire. I suspect it was probably very effective for a number of delegates; I just found that it didn’t grab me probably because when there’s ‘dreaming’ to be done in the fundraising and marketing team, I’m the one in the room wearing Edward De Bono’s black hat; criticising, asking about the risks and what we can do to mitigate them. (I know, I sound like such a bore!)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely with Kay Sprinkel Grace on the fact that dreaming can be a good thing. My grade 3 teacher wrote me a message on my ‘leaving card’ when I was in year 6. As an 11 year old, ‘aim for the sky’ seemed a little unusual and so I remembered it. Then, early in my work career, I had a situation where we simply didn’t have enough physical space to store what we needed. My boss at the time, gathered us together to discuss the solution. She quickly realised that we were self-limiting. We were after all a charity and so each of us had made assumptions about what we could afford. My boss asked us all to forget money for a moment. She asked us to ‘dream the perfect solution’, although she made us no promises she could deliver. We dreamed big. Of course, we didn’t get our dream but we got far more than we had ever anticipated. Yes Kay, we were dared to dream and it worked.
On the other hand I can list countless occasions where I’ve been in a group ‘dreaming session’ or ‘love in.’ Pieces of butchers paper are everywhere; ideas aplenty, enthusiasm galore. 12 months later the next ‘dream time’ occurs and I’m left with the cynicism; reflecting that nothing was done from the previous dreaming.
So as I make my way back to the office tomorrow, my thoughts drift not to whether we dare to be different, or dare to dream, but simply how many will dare to do. How many people will walk back into their offices and try something; and what’s more, how many will have to freedom to do it and the tools to support them?
Given some of my past experiences, I think many not for profits would benefit from adopting the motto ‘daring to dream is good, daring to do is better.’ Perhaps where Kay comes from, people don’t dream enough. Sometimes here, I think we dream too much, but then again that’s me; little miss black hat.