How fundraising helps us think differently about business

Earlier this year I was privileged to be involved, through our local cricket club, in a fundraising initiative for two local hospice charities, #RennieGroveHospiceCare and #HospiceOfStFrancis here in #StAlbans. We managed to raise £25K by going on a charity walk of nearly 100 miles.

The walk was far easier said than done – and so was the fundraising. With 3 weeks to go until our departure, we were barely at Base Camp in reaching our £25K target, with little prospect of success.

Or so we thought. Somehow, we got there.

The momentum we picked up in those final few weeks felt amazing and energising, as well as gratifying. Of course, fundraising is now an industry of itself and I am certainly no expert, but I have since reflected on the lessons we learned during those 3 weeks and wanted to share a few of those that may be most relevant to all our everyday business lives …

1.      The urgency of a single, unmovable deadline focuses minds like nothing else. In business, many deadlines can slip back – and there may good reasons. But think about the catalytic benefits of, as well as difficulties of, standing firm in meeting a deadline that couldn’t or shouldn’t be moved.

2.      The importance of a single, simple financial target. We had the classic “stretch” target – and yes it really was a stretch. And while life is about more than money, having a big simple number to aim for can motivate all, if all feel an emotional stake in reaching it.

3.      Progress can be exponential, so keep going! Several times in our final weeks of fundraising, we discussed lowering our target to something more “manageable”. But had we done so, would we then also have subconsciously lowered our intensity levels? I don’t really know the answer, but I learnt to make a distinction between what was truly unattainable – and that which is merely daunting.

4.      Focus on the possible routes to success, not on a path to failure. Even when the latter looks more likely, you can channel your nervous energy quickly on to what it may take to succeed.

5.      Be completely consistent in your messaging – and help others to help you. We achieved a lot by being crystal clear on our central messages and repeating it, albeit it differing styles, using lots of media channels and via many influencers. And on the latter, we learnt to make it as easy as possible for others to share our posts and spread the word.

I hope this is useful – maybe you have learnt business lessons from experiences in other areas of your life?

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