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Road Trip & Some Regret

Have you ever left a meeting or presentation and realized that you forgot to mention something?

Here's an example.

Yesterday, my flight from Orange County back to Seattle was delayed by about an hour. As I sat on the plane, waiting to head home, I realized what I should have added to my presentation earlier that day:

"Don't wait for the perfect fundraising program. Don't think that you need have a full team, a list of passionate and generous donors, and a fully vetted and tested strategy. Your mission can't wait for perfection - get started with what you can do today."

It's advice I should have shared with the attendees at the Edwards Lifesciences Every Heartbeat Matters Summit. This two-day even brings together Edwards team members and more than 40 nonprofits that are working to bring heart treatment and care to underserved patients all around the world.

The program has been in effect for 10 years - and has served more than 1.7 million people. It was a fantastic group - and thanks to Stefaan Portman and Amanda Fowler, I was able to attend and share some thoughts about fundraising.

Specifically, we talked about the three elements of transformative fundraising:

  • Strategy - the tools we use to prioritize our actions, craft our stories, and create opportunities for the community to connect to our cause.

  • Leadership - how board members can be fundraising champions by mastering their stories and thinking in terms of connection, not capacity.

  • Attitude - guidelines for thinking about our approach to fundraising - how we talk about it, how we present it, and how we celebrate it.

I was thrilled with the presentation ( I love a headset mic that allows me my full range of hand gesturing when I speak) - and I hope the attendees left with some new ways to think about their fundraising.

But, sitting on that plan, I realized I forgot to tell them a key piece of advice.

Get started.

There's always a reason to delay. A better CRM, a new strategy, a fancy gadget are all just around the corner. To say nothing of the other things on our to-do list. So we push that call off, we press pause on the campaign, we put the thank you notes aside for just one more day.

But our mission can't wait. We need to get started - however that looks - and starting engaging and inviting our supporters to join our cause.

So, I had a little bit of regret on the long journey home. But I certainly did not regret the chance to talk with the folks at Edwards!

And, of course, I loved the chance to connect with some of OC colleagues: Gladys Hernandez at Mixte, Chris Hoch at Habitat for Humanity of Orange County, Jenni Frank at Orange Door Consulting, and Sarah Neeley & Robin Sinclair from ODC and Fieldstone!

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