Lessons learned from the JCC Conference

This past week I had the pleasure of presenting on social media and fundraising at the JCC Biennial Conference.  As I often find, I learned just as many things as I taught. 

Lesson 1- Think differently

I know we all say we should do this, but it’s rare and so much easier to do the same old thing.  During the event fundraising session Rich Dietz encouraged people to think outside of the typical gala, and the ideas were a plenty.  How about a movie premier theme to show a new film, a carnival to bring more kids into your organization, or even a boxing tournament.  FUN!  On twitter that evening, I was sent this great Pintrest board with other fun ideas.

Lesson 2- There is a new world of professional

The “locking down” of social came up time and again.   Organizations are fearful that someone is going to say something bad.  To that, I say “they are going to do it anyway, so it may as well be in your control.”  I found this great visual  here, and it really illustrates the professional world we live in today.

Lesson 3: Size does matter

During our event fundraising session one of the participants asked about us leaving out a very important tactic.  Personal phone calls-I quickly added, “Sure those are great, but who has the staff to do that?”   He responded, “We have 45 board members.”  That hadn’t occurred to me.  Not sure why, I know many nonprofits have large boards that are willing to work, but 45.  WOW, that changes everything.  It was a great lesson for Rich and I.  As we work to construct session and valuable content we tend to gravitate to those smaller nonprofits with the greatest need, but it is important to remember that the big guys need help too.

Lesson 4: Hurricanes can be very scary

The conference was held in the city of New Orleans.  It was a very surreal experience to be in the city again after Katrina.  Everything looked so great. It was inspiring to talk to some of the people who had been there during the devastation, and to learn how they have rebuilt their lives.  My lesson 4 did not come from that very real reality though…I already knew that.  My learning came from one too many Hurricanes (the drink).  🙂

Take-away: Even when you are the teacher, you can always learn new things.

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