Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Tradition can be destructive
"Because that's the way we have always done it".
I've said this before, but if I had a dollar for every time I have heard that. Well, you know the rest...
And as the image above illustrates, just because you've always done something doesn't mean it isn't incredibly stupid.
This dawned on me over the weekend when I learned of the tragic death of a young Canadian hockey player after being involved in a fight on the ice a few weeks earlier.
Don't get me wrong, I love hockey (and I've only been living in Canada 9 months!) but I don't get the whole fighting thing. Trust me, the purist (male) in me likes nothing better than seeing two guys going toe to toe in a sporting contest, whether that be a game of football or in the boxing ring.
But surely in 2009 allowing this to happen in a game of hockey is just plain crazy? I am sure the traditionalists would say at this point, "but it's part of the game, blah blah blah..."
Again I draw them to the image above and the poignant caption below it.
So back to fundraising for a moment.
Doing what we did last year because we did it that way the year before that, and in 1995 and in 1863 (Ok I'm being a tad facetious here) can often be really destructive.
This applies to big picture, strategic decisions (like which areas of fundraising to invest and focus in) to really tactical examples on a day to day basis.
One classic example of the latter is the use of 'thank you' letters. Most thank you letters are dull, lifeless and frankly a 'rip off' from the version we used last year or last campaign and so on and so on...
Because it's easy and it was adequate last time round so must be again this time, right?
We can often be inhibited by decisions and behaviors of the past. But let's make your first (fundraising) resolution of the year to not allow tradition to stand in our way and become destructive.
Make the right decisions for the right reasons. Not because someone made the decision for you six years ago.