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Eight Traits of Effective Youth
by Jim & Connie Walters
Editor's Note: This is the second of an eight part monthly series. Although it's focus is on youth fund-raising programs, these traits are universal enough for all fund-raisers to make note of. For more information about the authors and their expertise please see the end of the article.
The first point in this series (a leader with a heart and vision for the work) discussed "vision" and "organizational skills" as key capacities for fund-raising leaders. The criteria for true visionaries in non-profit fund-raising is not so much the ability to formulate a vision as it is the ability to cast that vision over the entire group (i.e.: to help them buy into the vision as their own).
With youth, a wise leader knows that they especially must believe that part of the plan is "their idea" if they are to give themselves fully to it. This is normally accomplished by bringing them into the planning process early enough to have meaningful input.
Rarely will the youth themselves originate a great plan to raise money (it simply is not one of their priorities for life!). The best visions and dreams usually originate with the leader, and are first voiced to other key leaders who accept and confirm the idea. The next step is when the general idea is "fleshed-out" into a detailed plan, and this is the time to bring in some of the youth leaders. Once you have a general idea that sounds workable, let the youth leaders help fill in the details and put their "slant" into the idea. They may also elaborate on it and think of possibilities you hadn't dreamed of.
For example, your leaders decide to do a special dinner and sell tickets to raise funds. They locate a bar-b-q cafe that will donate some of the groceries. They have a date in mind and a place available. Before going further, they bring in the key youth: "What do you think about this?" and "Would you guys don costumes and serve the meal, do the cleanup, and perhaps some musical entertainment.?" With that much direction (and the umbrella issues already decided) most youth will have no trouble scheming out the details that will give the event flavor, color, and hopefully pizzazz. Youth leaders will do better than you at getting the other youth excited. Once the whole group has "ownership" of it, you have energy and momentum before you sell the first ticket.
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About the Author:
Jim Walters serves in a local church ministry in Denver, Colorado. Along with his wife Connie, who has led fund-raisers for both church, elementary school, and high school groups, they formed Booster Solutions to help others find profitable answers to their fundraising problems.
Together they have written "Top Ten Youth Fundraisers", a 16 page handbook that details their plans for 10 great fundraising ideas. Each plan in the manual is fresh, tested and profitable. They work well for both school and church groups. This is not a rehash of coupon books, subscriptions or car washes.
Every plan includes: 1) an overview of the project as successfully completed. 2) a "key thought" ensuring your success. 3) step-by-step outline with options and thoughts on variations.
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