Learning from your Mistakes

The other day while browsing topics of discussions in some of the groups that I follow on Linked In, I came across one entitled “Fundraising Campaign Questions” posted by someone named Jennifer who works for an organization here in Portland.  It started by saying “I was looking for some insight into why my non-profit last email campaign failed miserably.”  It intrigued me, so I read more.

Jennifer went on to say that she works for Rose Community Development, a group that buys and rehabilitates group housing as an affordable place to live in Southeast Portland.  The organization is trying to raise $5000 to install a playground for the children living at one of the complexes that Rose runs, and she wrote a fundraising email to gain financial support for the project.  Unfortunately, she did not get a very positive response from supporters, so she asked members of the Linked In group to critique the email and suggest what she could do for a better response from the organization’s online supporters. A number of people gave their opinions, including myself, and hopefully, Jennifer will sort through the comments and ideas, choosing what she feels appropriate, and will try again.

Instead of saying what I think should be done with her email in my blog, I want to praise Jennifer for realizing she was not successful with this attempt, and asking for advice from others and looking for help so she can learn from her mistakes.  First, I know it can be difficult to acknowledge that you were unsuccessful, but as a former teacher, I know how valuable mistakes can be as learning experiences.  I also know that asking for help from others, whether friends, peers, or complete strangers, can be embarrassing.  No one likes to admit failure, but Jennifer is mature enough to know that she needs to do better to make this project work.  In my opinion, Jennifer did the mature and right thing to do, and I commend her for her actions.

I would also like to give my moral support by asking you to support this project if you are able to donate a few dollars.  Kids need a safe place to play.  They need to be active and they need the opportunity to use their imaginations.  By providing them with a playground in their apartment complex, you can make their lives better by letting them have a childhood they can enjoy.  You will feel better knowing that you helped them do that.  You can make the lives of these kids better.

Good luck to you, Jennifer.  I hope you have learned from this opportunity, and I hope that my encouragement and my support will lead you to a more successful future.  I also hope that others will do what you have done when they find themselves in a similar situation.  There’s nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it.



About greatergoodfundraising

Richard Freedlund has been active in the nonprofit sector in a number of ways, both professionally and as a volunteer. He is the founder of Greater Good Fundraising, a business that helps schools and organizations raise money for their programs while accomplishing something positive for the community. After living in Oregon for 27 years, he has returned to his hometown of Rockford, Illinois and hopes to make his mark on the nonprofit sector there. He is the father of a talented jazz musician and the son of philanthropic parents that continue to support multiple causes. To contact Richard for consulting, fundraising, or speaking opportunities, email greatergoodfundraising@gmail.com or reach him on Twitter.com @ggfundraise
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