May 8, 2010

Tom and I just returned from 10 days in New Zealand. We presented at two conferences: Asia Pacific fundraisers from Red Cross / Red Crescent Societies and Fundraising Institute New Zealand‘s 3-day gathering. We also took time to tramp (preferred New Zealand reference for hiking). And, during the rainy days, we saw some great movies. You must see: Boy and Mao’s Last Dancer. (Read more about Mao’s last dancer by the dancer / author himself.)

Great conversations with our colleagues on that side of the world. Amazing work being done by the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Nepal, Japan, Papua New Guinea, Japan, the Philippines, Mongolia, China, Hong Kong, and so many more. Check them out at the International Federation.

Think about this insightful comment from New Zealand consultant Kitty Hilton: “Throw out the phrase ‘soft sell or hard sell.’ Instead, use the phrase ‘smart sell or stupid sell.” Kitty and I know — and I hope you do, too — that neither soft nor hard sell is good. But smart or stupid – now that’s on target.

You know how I love cage-rattling questions.

Jo Currie of the New Zealand Neurological Foundation posed a great question: “How do you feel about being unpopular?” Jo raised this question during my master class about leadership. We were talking about leaders as change agents and the need to take risks. Jo’s question is very powerful – because, indeed, change agents and risk takers will be unpopular. Are you ready for that?

More conversation in the master class included:

— Let’s coach people to succeed…and support them in failure. Failure means we tried, we took risks.

— We always talk about fear of new ideas. But maybe the fear is mostly fear of retribution for failure. In order to take risks, people have to trust that their bosses will support failure.

— Bottom line: Organizations and leaders have to allow for failure…the failure of trying not the failure of doing nothing.

And finally, a special thanks to Malcolm in New Zealand. Malcolm was honored at the fundraising conference for outstanding results in fundraising. And from the podium, he complimented both Tom and me, saying that our writings and teachings had helped him achieve results. Thank you, Malcolm, for that marvelous compliment.Thank you, New Zealand, for a great visit!

About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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