While growing up in rural Kentucky my family attended a number of barn raising affairs. It was so heartening to see a community come together, despite the social and economic differenced in participating families, for a common goal.
This childhood memory came to surface earlier this year when I was asked to serve on a four member committee with the goal of creating an event which would raise funds for the National Auctioneers Foundation. The fundraising event, which took place during the National Auctioneers Convention held recently in Louisville, Kentucky, doubled the previous best attempt of raising funds.
I was honored by the request and looked forward to working with three colleagues, two high-powered and well-respected professional benefit auctioneers and the CEO of the National Auctioneers Association.
During our first meeting, each and every one of us, especially the three professional benefit auctioneers, thought we had the perfect recipe for success. Unfortunately, all three recipes came from different fundraising cookbooks.
But, we all had the utmost respect for one another and knew we had to work cooperatively to accomplish the goal we were asked to perform.
So, the compromising began. When someone had an idea, which translated into a possible solution, the rest of us listened with a great deal of reverence and weighed it against our suggestion for the good of the committee.
The final result was a very strong plan. A plan we all whole-heartedly believed in and felt very good about. The fact our fundraising effort doubled the previous effort is a prime example how working cooperatively together leads to success.
We could never have done it if we hadn’t set our emotions and egos aside. No one on our committee threw a fit because their idea wasn’t used and no one walked away from the committee because he/she felt slighted and unappreciated because their suggestion wasn’t part of our final plan.
Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for some of the volunteer auction committees I’ve worked with in the past.
I see this happen on a regular basis. It’s the old “It’s my way or the highway” mentality.
I’m sure you’ve all experienced it. You have a committee member – or members – who let their emotions get involved.
They get ticked off because their idea or ideas aren’t being used so they start to spew their displeasure to others creating a controversy where no controversy should be.
This attitude and action kills a fundraising event with the fallout being lower dollars generated.
Donors do not want controversy when they are donating. They want everyone pulling on the rope in the same direction. They do not want to see a tug-of-war.
It’s all about everyone agreeing to work cooperatively and then “walking-the-walk” and “talking-the-talk” by working cooperatively.
As a committee member, we all have different ideas. We all bring different things to the table. And we all have different areas of expertise. It’s those differences which make a committee strong.
The magic comes when the differences become unified and everyone is pulling in the same cooperative direction. A good old fashion barn-raising taught me that lesson at a very early age.
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