I recently attended a Fellows meeting of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), a great organization of which I was honored to serve as chair a few years ago. Associations are experiencing many of the same challenges that charities are, and most of the conversations centered on the impact of the economy.
We had a great facilitator (Patti Digh) who focused on the importance of staying positive and cautioned how easy it is for individuals and organizations to fall into the trap of being negative even when they don’t realize it. For example, she asked how many of us use the "Yes, but" approach (very negative) as opposed to the "Yes, and" approach (much more positive and encouraging additional communications).
We also did an interesting exercise where we made both a list of challenges and a list of how to make those challenges worse. Then we reviewed the lists to see if we were actually performing any of the activities on the second list, and more often than not, we found that we were doing a few of them.
I think both of these ideas and exercises can easily be applied to fundraising, and it makes me wonder that if we all took a step back from our daily responsibilities, would we be able to identify a few things our organizations are doing that are actually hurting, not helping, us in the long term.
How are you staying positive in this difficult environment? Feel free to post any ideas or processes you are implementing to help your organization and staff focus on the positive!