The Goldie Company

10 things fundraisers can learn from the Academy Awards

February 25, 2013

by Noel Draper, CFRE

The 2013 Academy Awards gave us several memorable moments. Even though host Seth MacFarlane reminded us often that it was getting late, I still appreciated the Hollywood show and discovered that it exemplified many aspects similar to fundraising. Here are the top ten lessons I saw demonstrated, reminders which are relevant to fundraising.

10.  Be prepared. It shows.
9.    Celebrate the achievements of others.
8.    Thank your team.
7.    Give praise where possible. (And it is always possible!)
6.    Acknowledge your peers.
5.    Be yourself, don’t act. People want to know you are human too.
4.    Remember those who enriched our lives and are no longer with us.
3.    It is about telling the story and telling it well.
2.    If you trip, you can make it endearing and memorable with a positive attitude.

1.    Grace trumps accuracy: As a kid who grew up in Toronto, I remember my first Leaf game. They won. But more memorable than the game was what happened in the stands that night. During a break in the action, 8 rows in front of me, two people stood up and waved large signs that read, “Thank you Canada for the 6 - USA”. They received a loud ovation, waved and sat down.

The heroic efforts of Ken Taylor (former Canadian Ambassador to Iran) and his staff that saved the lives of 6 Americans during the Iranian Hostage Crisis made many Canadians proud. Although tempted to criticise the movie Argo for its creative liberties, I have chosen to follow the lesson demonstrated by Ken Taylor. Taylor graciously acknowledged the meager recognition Canada received last evening and drew the attention back to the essential truth of the story -- in a crisis people acted, lives were saved.

Even though we get focused on the numbers as fundraisers , the value of our work is that no matter who gets the credit the lives of real people are at stake, saving those lives is what motivates us.