Sunday, April 12, 2009

There are some things in the UK I just don't understand

One of the things in London that me made take notice is the reminder to pedestrians to look left (or right) before they cross the street. True it is useful and permanent signage to tell visitors that traffic comes at you in the opposite direction. Look right to avoid being hit by a car. Purposeful but odd to a Canadian girl.

Something else that is a little odd to me is Professional Fundraisings most popular fundraiser poll. I noticed this poll briefly in the April online issue but didn't pay much attention because frankly it didn't have anything to do with helping me become a better fundraiser. Then I read Mark Phillips blog and I started thinking...

In the UK there are super fundraising stars called "gurus". We like it when they come to our conferences. We all know who they are and we attend their sessions even if they are the same as the ones we saw last year. We are entertained if not exactly educated.

This guru mentality is most likely being fueled by things like this poll for most "influential fundraiser". Do fundraisers in the UK strive to be included in this list every year? Is that a purposeful thing or does it tempt fundraisers to strive to be popular with other fundraisers at the risk of not doing their job? A little bit like high school isn't it?

Is it important to be considered a guru by your peers? Do gurus do more to make the world a better place than all those other unknown fundraisers?

Like the signage embedded in the pavement this is another thing that seems odd to this Canadian Girl - only it is completely without purpose.

How does this kind of thinking help advance the the charitable sector? I'm not sure it does.

Thank you for spending time here.


  1. I think the only important thing is that I do my job and help to make it possible for my organization to save lives.

    Guru, well known, unknown - who cares?

    I suppose one could argue that they have made the world a better place by educating others and helping them to do a better job. But that assumes that people have done a better job because of them. You'd have to do a fairly extensive survey to find the answer to that - and even then it would probably be subjective.

    Celebrity and popularity doesn't necessarily equate to skill or expertise - but there are a lot of great people out there who don't have those qualities and therefore never have an opportunity to share their expertise. Does that make their contributions more or less valuable?

    I don't think they are doing a better job at making the world a better place nor do I think they are doing a worse job. Many people work to make the world a better place; the front line charitable sector workers, the backbencher politician, the garbage man who volunteers, or anyone else on this earth who does their bit to make the world a better place.

    Most of us do our part to make the world a better place - we just do it differently and some people have an audience. Not really sure that I (or any of us) is qualified to say who is doing more or less in their efforts to make the world a better place.

    I'm just glad that lots of people want to.

  2. Thanks for you comment Laurie. Very Canadian of you. Do you think Canada should have a "Most Influential" fundraiser poll too?

  3. I think there isnt much wrong with the award, I do think the nomination process is strange though. I expected to see a list I would then vote for a person. I also am not sure about the title most influential. Is that the person that makes the most noise? They may not be very good!!!

  4. Yes, awards are great. They are good for resume's, organizations and setting a standard for others to aspire too. I agree with you though - what is the criteria and what is it they are influencing?

    Thank you for your comment Conor. Interesting discussion.

  5. Maybe it isn't such a bad idea.

    I do like that they haven't produced a shortlist and people can write in any name they want.

    It's possible there will be some delightful surprises on that list. Perhaps some people who aren't well known will have an opportunity to share great things that we might never have heard about?

    I'm more interested to see what that list will look like (i.e. already well know people vs. lesser known people) than I am to see the same old names that we already know.