Know when to let go of something

Sometimes events, issues, or groups loose their support. Sometimes they die. Its not always a bad thing.

Sometimes events, issues, or groups loose their support. Sometimes they die. It's not always a bad thing.

Today I met with Laura Russello of Michigan Peaceworks, and she told me about how they are discontinuing one of their regular fundraisers.

The fundraiser has been a lot of fun, but they’ve seen that it’s been lagging a bit in the last few years. So their shutting it down to try something new.

This happesn. People change. The public mood changes. And sometimes events, projects, or issues that were very relevant before no longer seem relevant.

What should you do when this happens:

  1. Admit the truth. I’ve seen groups go into denial when their beloved event or cause stops resonating with the public. You can’t change reality unless you face reality.
  2. Identify your options: Honestly look at your alternatives. You could keep working on a particular issue. For example, even if nuclear weapons aren’t in the news, that you could choose to keep working for their abolition. You could also choose a new topic or event. Or, maybe it’s time for your group to close. What are the different ways you could deal with the new reality.
  3. Evaluate tradeoffs: Remember, everything you do means that you’re spending time and money doing that rather than doing something else, so think carefully about the impacts of your choices. Yes, maybe your current fundraiser turns a profit, what other fundraising opportunities are you missing to pull that event off? Economists call these “opportunity costs,” and you have to evaluate these costs against the benefits of other choices or the status quo.
  4. Make a decision and act: After you’ve thought about it, do something. We’ve all been in those settings where people keep talking about an issue and never acting on it. Don’t let that happen to you. Make a decision and follow through with it.

Laura showed courage in stopping a popular event before it completely whithered into something downright embarrassing. And I’m sure she’ll replace it with something fresh, fun, and that will raise lots of money.

Will you show that kind of courage?

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