Why are we here?
I’m typing this on the busy 17.57 train from St Pancras to Chesterfield on the way home from a multi-day, full on team meeting in London. I was motivated to put fingers to laptop keyboard by the emotionally charged atmosphere at the end of the meeting.
We’d spent most of the meeting reviewing our activity and income for 2014, exploring our plans for 2015 and discussing what impact the charity’s emerging new strategy would have on our team’s work and that of the wider charity.
And then, at the end of the meeting, it happened…
Colleagues expressed their frustration, anger and disgust. Voices were raised, and, yes, there were tears.
And it was amazing!
To round off a long meeting looking at facts and figures, financial and non-financial targets, and SMART objectives for the year ahead we went round the table and everyone was asked to share just one thing that had happened over the last 12 months that had inspired them. Something that had motivated them. Something that made them leap out of bed in the morning eager to do their job. In short, we talked about why we’re here, why we’ve chosen to do this job, for this charity.
We heard about the anger colleagues feel when they see someone who isn’t getting the support that they need and are entitled to from the state. We talked about the amazing challenges our supporters undertake to raise funds. We heard about the gratitude felt by colleagues whose families had received support from the charity. We talked about the difference that treatments we helped develop have made to people’s lives. We heard about the frustration faced by families trying to get the medication that will restore some normality to their lives.
It’s important for us as fundraisers to focus on the figures and return of invest ratios to ensure that we’re being as effective as possible and making the best use of the funds that have been entrusted to us and our organisations. However it’s just as important for us to focus on the reason we’re here and to connect with the fire in our bellies.
I encourage you to try what we did. Get your team members to briefly explain why they’re here and what motivates them to get up each morning. Get them to share their stories, their anger, and get their tears flowing.
It feels fantastic!
Darren Worthy, Secretary, IoF East Midlands