The Beautiful Game

The Beautiful Game

I am surrounded by all things World Cup.

Tansley Nemean League

Tansley – Nemean League Champs

My husband is English by birth and played football (soccer) all his life, including semi-pro, until he immigrated to Canada.  He is football mad (in a stiff-upper-lip sort of way). And by far his happiest moment in life was being at Wembley for the win in ’66.

My daughter is working in Brazil, where the Copa Mundial is being played in 12 venues across the country. The entire population is going completely loucoTodo o Brasil celebra.

And although I’m not a massive fan, I’m still hoping Team USA wins because Clint Dempsey and DeAndre Yedlin of Seattle Sounders FC (from my hometown) are playing!

So naturally, I’m thinking about lessons fundraisers can use from the beautiful game.

You’re part of a team. Your team may comprise your area of fundraising, your entire fundraising team, or your nonprofit. And even if you are in a one-person shop, you still have a team – your board, champions and volunteers. A great Fußball team capitalizes on the individual strengths of each player to create a strong, synergistic whole.

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What Now?

I want to thank all of you who read my recent post and especially those who left a comment, sent a private message mentioning feelings and experiences, or simply shared by retelling, retweeting, or reblogging. I believe sharing my story was the right thing to do and I appreciated the supportive and moving responses.

It seems that each reader found something that she or he needed – some saw a story of harassment and exploitation, others saw it as echos of their experiences, a few saw workplace bullying, several found a new perspective, and a couple of readers used it as a call for better nonprofit workplace policies. Lots of you sent apologies and hugs.

Writing about my experience was deeply personal – I had removed the episode from my career narrative and even my husband didn’t know it had happened until I asked his opinion about posting it. The post had a lot of power because it was born at the nexus of the fear, pain, anger, misogyny, shame and disbelief expressed by #YesAllWomen.

WhatNowAnd not a few of you shouted, “OK, but now what?!”

Is there a culture of rape in the US and other countries? (Find a good definition from Marshall University.) Or is it simply abuse of power and privilege with another name? Isn’t it all just oppression by another name?

And if all this is woven into the fabric of our society, what can we do? How do we change a culture, the status quo?

The easiest thing is to do nothing. Inertia is the natural tendency of objects to resist changes in their state of motion. People can be very comfortable with inertia.

But I would argue that fundraisers are not comfortable with inertia; our nature is to fight oppression in any and all of its many forms. We raise awareness, we raise funds so that our nonprofits will eliminate oppression, injustice, destruction, disease, poverty, ignorance, mistreatment, hate and more. We raise a flag, we rally the troops, we fund the fight.

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Don’t Hate Work

image by Olivier Schrauwen

image by Olivier Schrauwen

Following on my last post, which, among other things, reminded readers that they are due respect and dignity in the workplace (in the nonprofit sector or another), I wanted to share a great article “Why You Hate Work” by Tony Schwartz and Christine Porath, (Sunday New York Times). Below is an excerpt:

“Employees are vastly more satisfied and productive, it turns out, when four of their core needs are met: physical, through opportunities to regularly recharge and renew at work; emotional, by feeling valued and appreciated for their contributions; mental, when they have the opportunity to focus in an absorbed way on their most important tasks and define when and where they get their work done; and spiritual, by doing more of what they do best and enjoy most, and by feeling connected to a higher purpose at work.” 

If you lead a team of any size, I urge you to read this.

Even if you don’t “lead” (via title, org chart or nomination), you can act as a leader in your work.

Keeping these four important points in mind can help you feel connected to your team and help your colleagues become and stay happy and motivated in their work.

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