Do you want to be extraordinary or average?

The other night I was watching Elementary. If you haven’t watched it, it’s a modern take on Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. What can I say I love a good mystery. I always have. One of my favorite childhood memories is watching Murder, She Wrote with my mom.  Yup, I’m a detective enthusiast and a bit of a dork.

In the episode, Holmes and Watson – were having a moment – a.k.a a heated discussion about the case.  Watson was doubting herself because of a mistake she made.  Holmes said to her “I find self doubt very distracting, please wallow in the privacy of your own room.” Then he said “Can I remind you that you made a discovery today that may solve the both cases?” But here’s the kicker… Holmes asked Watson Do you wish to mourn the former or celebrate the latter?”  Was Watson going to focus on her mistake or move forward with her discovery? Watson chose to solve the case.

At the Run Walk Ride Fundraising Conference Jeff Shuck asked us a similar question – do you want to be extraordinary or average? I choose extraordinary! But, how do you become extraordinary?

In my session at the Run Walk Ride, I shared my path to fundraising enlightenment.  When I think of enlightenment, I think of Buddha.  Buddha teachings about transformation – with the goal to transform your suffering into peace and joy.  While Buddha’s can show you the path to peace, I hope to show you the path to fundraising enlightenment. My teachings are also about transformation – but, my goal is to transform your current thoughts on fundraising.  It’s a tough task, but I think I’m to it.

My fundraising journey began at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, my next stop was the Alzheimer’s Association and then I moved on the Share Our Strength.  These three wonderful organizations provided me with a great fundraising foundation. They taught me how to fundraise and how to build meaningful relationships. But, my path to enlightenment began at Blackbaud.  I’m able to look at fundraising using a different lens – looking at things differently is the key to enlightenment.  I don’t have all the answers and I’m not here to give your answers. I’m here to guide you on your path to enlightenment.  Buddha didn’t give his followers answers instead he gave them the tools they needed to find their own answers – I hope to do the same.

How will I do this?  It starts with the Four Noble Truths of Fundraising.  Buddha has his Four Noble Truths and I have mine.

The First Noble Truths of Fundraising of is Open.  You need to be open to ideas, to new ways of looking at your fundraising program, to data, to measuring your results, to managing your staff… okay; you basically need to open to everything.  Charles Kettering an American inventor and engineer once said “There exist limitless opportunities in every industry. Where there is an open mind, there will always be a frontier.”  I love that quote.  When you’re open; possibilities are endless.

I’ll be back next week the rest of my Noble Truths, for now marinate on Open.  What does open mean to you?  Do you have an example of being open to a new idea?  If so, share it with us.

That’s all for now, talk to your next week.

Before I leave… I’d like to give special thanks for my friends who were at RWR.  I was on a blog hiatus, but I’m back now with tons to share.  Thank you for your encouragement and for being faithful readers.  Also thanks and a shout out to Terri Lynn Foods, I’m obsessed with the Trail Mix you gave us!