Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
This is my favorite quote ever. I always remember it because I make blunders and absurdities part of my every day life. Part of working for a non-profit is trying new things and some of them end up being blunders.
At Community Partners of Dallas (CPD) we spend a lot of time talking about what we can do better. We consider ideas from board members, CPS caseworkers, volunteers, and staff members. Sometimes we cannot try new things because of lack of funding. Sometimes it is because history has shown us that although people say that they want blue widgets, they actually choose red ones.
But sometimes, we take a chance and try that new thing. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.
When I first came to CPD (Almost 9 years ago – by FAR the longest time I’ve ever stayed in a job, ever!), the agency did not produce a fundraising event. As many of you know, I was a theater major and at the time I was younger and loved costume parties. So the board and I decided to put on a 1960’s costume party called Community A-Go-Go. We hired a comedian and had a fun dinner and everyone dressed up. We were thrilled when we netted about $25,000 the first year and we just knew that the event would take off the next year. We did it again and raised more money in the second and third years, but still the event just didn’t take off. The attendees continued to be mostly our board members, the event chairs, and their friends. We tried a fourth year and really decided that we would blow it out because surely others would come and sponsor the event if we really put some money in it and hired a famous comedian. We even hired a consultant to come and help us produce the event and do PR. Surely this year would be the turning point.
Since you know the topic of the post I bet you have realized that we no longer produce this event. Even with fabulous chairs, a fun event premise, and a lot of hard work, we still couldn’t make it into what we wanted it to be. And except for many of our staff members having a spare set of go-go boots in the closet, we don’t really think about it any more.
But we learned from the experience. Our Chick Lit Luncheon is great and keeps raising more money every year. Change is Good, our family-friendly event, is also wonderful and is one-of-a-kind fun.
And that great new idea (or future blunder) is right around the corner. I say let’s try it!