Have you ever been on the front end, the very beginning of a big project? We’re talking big… and then there’s BIG. Like deciding to build a new building, set up a new organization, create a new program, launch a huge fundraising campaign? In the very beginning it’s a great feeling! You’ve just committed to something big. Bigger than you. Bigger than it looked from the outset… and now it’s time to make it happen.
When you committed, you didn’t know what you didn’t know. Now you’re starting the Big Project and you develop the sneaking suspicion that what you don’t know will determine the Big Project’s success or failure. It’s time to set out to find those who do know what you don’t and who can help you along the way. Occasionally, we find someone who goes above and beyond. Who becomes more than a source of help but a partner.
What I didn’t know
Not long ago, I started to build Ask Masters online – my Big Project – I stood on the precipice staring into the abyss of what I didn’t know, trying to figure out what I needed to do next. In the space of a decision, I had moved from my area of expertise to being faced with an overwhelming amount of what I didn’t know. There was this stuff about website development and management, digital design, and online communications. And this was, I suspected, just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
In the space of a decision, I had moved from my area of expertise to being faced with an overwhelming amount of what I didn’t know.”
As I cast about for some answers, a friend introduced me to Dean Whitney and his company, Aericon. Dean listened to my saga and what I thought were my first steps. He offered some gentle guidance and then said the magic words – “Yes, we can help with this.” He outlined some of the things Aericon would need to get started.
Hooray! I was on the way! Now, as you might know, when you’re in a Big Project every question that gets answered inevitably leads to more questions. As you reach the peak of one mountain and pause to take in the view, you realize that another climb awaits.
The Big Panic
I wasn’t too far down the road when I was hit by the Big Panic. All this new stuff! I didn’t know what went where, why it should go anywhere and what was important to do first! I knew I might cost myself loads of time and effort if I got things out of order, or, heaven forbid, wrong. I flew the white flag and called up Dean. I needed help!
Dean knew just what to do. He introduced me to Sam. Sam listened to my quandary and got right to the heart of what I was worried about. “No problem,” said Sam, “Try this,” as he handed me a form and described how I could use it to organize my project and put the parts where they needed to go and in the correct order.
Hallelujiah! There was a FORM! I didn’t need to worry about how everything fit together! I could put the pieces in the form and it would guide me in the right order. The form was the key that brought everything into focus. I was awash with a huge sense of relief knowing that I could depend on the process to see me through and that Sam and Dean would be there to keep me on track.
Have you ever felt that kind of relief? Like a huge weight has been lifted from you because there’s a structure to follow or a form that you can fill out to make the pieces fall into place? Especially when you’re setting out to do something really big for the first time. You know if you just follow the steps you’re going to get there. That enormously liberating feeling made an impression on me to last a lifetime. That’s why I’ve built so many forms into Ask Masters online, to help you make each step of your Big Fundraising Project a worry-free success.
Thanks to Dean, Sam and the ingenious form I could declare victory over the Big Panic! I had vanquished uncertainty! Time for celebration! As I was standing on the top of my mountain taking in the view, I saw the path I’d need to climb to reach the next peak. So it was not too long afterwards that I turned to Dean and Sam when the next Big Question arose.
But this time the answer was… I don’t know.
Uh-oh, I was in trouble here. This time I wasn’t even sure what the question was. Surely it must be insurmountable if Dean and Sam were stumped, too.
It was out of their area of expertise, yet after a moment a solution appeared. Sam told me that he and Dean believed what I was doing was important, so the plan was to research it. “Maybe,” he said “what we learn will not only help you, but will let us help others who hit the same question or are doing something similar.” Sam introduced me to Peter and the company Cohesian.
Going above and beyond
And with these guys, it continued. They kept stepping up as each new challenge surfaced. From going out of their way to connect me to new resources that might help, to finding, screening, and even hiring people to help, they pitched in, helped out, stretched boundaries, found answers. They even went out of their way to refer me to other companies who made it a point to support nonprofits. Talk about philosophical alignment! I couldn’t have hoped for a better partnership.
The right nonprofit fundraising partners help keep you on mission
Sometimes when you take on a new Big Project the biggest threat is the risk of going “off-mission.” My mission is to help you make a difference through fundraising. It is NOT my mission to be a technology company or digital warehouse of knowledge. Without the stalwart support and partnership of Aericon and Cohesian, I would have been lost – pulled of target and sidetracked into the abyss of what I didn’t know during the quest to build Ask Masters online.
It is due to the amazing resourcefulness and creativity of Dean, Sam, Peter, Mae, Anish, Haris, Waris, Saif, and all the folks at Aericon and Cohesian that we are reaching the top of this mountain. We’re celebrating reaching this pinnacle with a free four-part Ask Masters Fundraising Accelerator course. I hope you will join us as we pause to take in the view from this vista. Maybe you will find the path to your next peak. You can sign up here.