Shaping Focus, Context and Culture Through Vision, Values, and Purpose

Joel and Denise each led fund raising campaigns for their respective service club and community agency. Under another member’s leadership, Joel’s club had raised a record amount in their last effort. Joel wasn’t sure they could come close to that level again. But organization was one of his real strengths. Believing in “planning your work and working your plan,” Joel set targets and efficiently established roles and responsibilities for each volunteer in his fund raising group. He gave crisp reports at each meeting filled with words like “outcome measurement” and “goal realization.” He pushed everyone hard to meet his or her commitments. He developed recognition programs with rewards and incentives for those donating money and those collecting it. He organized rallies such as “Making a Difference days.” When the fund raising campaign was over, they fell just short of their target.

Denise knew that organization was important. She recruited someone with those skills to help her manage the fund raising campaign. She concentrated on connecting the donors and volunteers to the difference they were making in the lives of so many people in their community. Drawing from her public speaking training, Denise loved to tell stories about how the money they raised helped to support Lucy, who was blind, continue her education and find a job. Or she’d talk about how Ralph and his family used a counseling center to find new hope and direction after he lost his job from years of painful back problems. At many meetings, she invited the people they were helping to come in and tell their stories. Susan came into one meeting and quietly told of how drugs and alcohol led to horrible neglect and abuse of her three year son. With the help of a treatment centre funded by Denise’s agency, Susan was now clean, sober, and graduating shortly from a nursing school. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

Throughout the fund raising campaign, Denise constantly reminded the group of their vision to build a “caring community” and improving quality of life for all. She kept referring back to their four “touchstone values” of CARE (Collaboration, Alliances, Respect, and Empathy). Donors, businesses, government agencies, and volunteers were moved and energized. They were making a difference. The fund raising campaign exceeded its target.

Source: Leaders Shape Focus and Context by Jim Clemmer

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