Monday, 3 September 2012

Fundraisers and Entrepreneurs: Why don’t we hang out more?

macpc.pngNote: This post has a soundtrack. Click here to play while reading…

In the past few years I’ve become a student of social business

Notice I didn’t say social media. The skills are the tools, the goal is always profit. As a fundraiser my goal was social-profit

A few years ago, sitting at a ‘kitchen table’ discussion an entrepreneur turned to a fellow fundraiser and said “I know you work 60 hours a week for a charity and I respect that. But I work 100 hours a week and I donate a lot to charity too. But I have no office, no resources, no benefits, if I’m sick I don’t eat, I live on the edge and am more ‘non-profit’ than you’ll ever know or be”. He had a point. 

And I took to heart that I would be a better fundraiser if I hung out with a few more hungry folks like him. He yearns to succeed in much the same way my fundraising peers yearn to make social change. I’ve been telling folks that I want to focus less on wearing a tie and more on better work.

When the charities I worked for, rejected social media. My new entrepreneur network embraced it, learned fast and I got to tag along for the ride. Today I often share the power of social media with job seekers – how to use tools like LinkedIn to create a personal brand. Then how to use tools like Twitter and Blogging to engage and use that brand to and a job then develop a career. 

dekefirLast week I sat down with the owners of a business whose delicious product I’ve been enjoying. Sure their product is unique, they sell dekefir1Yogurt’s cousin, Kefir with uber-healthy toppings to the Bay Street crowd in Toronto. But what fascinated me was the strategy and intelligence with which their business was born. They are a coupe of business professionals who had a dream and make it work by mind, not just passion.

I asked a question recently in my first podcast “who do you happily give your hard earned money to?” and what companies are truly engaging in “social business”. DeKefir is one of those businesses. These entrepreneurs host early morning masterminds at their location, they understand that true business is in the relationships with their supporters and customers – just like fundraisers realize the relationships with their network and donors are they key to survival. 

It was an inspirational meeting. 

When I read about the transformation from cubicle dweller and see what it takes to be an entrepreneur, sometimes it can be pretty terrifying. Unsafe, uncomfortable ---- but they are the fuel for the fire in the engine of our economy

When Paul Alofs talks about “Passion Capitalists” – WE are who he was talking about! So why don’t we hang out more? As a fundraiser I was always dreaming of our best conferences and educational gatherings but maybe there is a new class of teacher that we’re already interacting with on a regular basis. 
I know I have the musical taste of a 13 year old sometimes but this song is how I feel when I hang out with a group of entrepreneurs. They inspire and excite me. I learn something every moment we’re together

I look forward to meeting more and encourage any fundraiser reading this to do the same!

As we end the summer and get back to work, remember, I’m here to help. Keep in touch,



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