Can You Make a Difference?

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Making a difference requires many things to come together. 

You may deeply want to make a difference but you don’t have the experience or expertise to do what it takes.  So many people want to do something but rallying the “troops” proves to be a bigger challenge than they anticipated. 

That’s why some people are expert in generating support.  They can organize a protest, it seems, out of the air but their skills and experience are what it takes to get a movement off the ground.  They had to learn how to generate the enthusiasm and the involvement.  Usually, it involves a core group of people they employ and then they have a system.  Just because you think the cause is important, doesn’t mean others will.

The group’s members you might be associated with don’t understand “making a difference” in the same way you do.  You may be a person of action and they be people of “bureaucracy”.  They think that meeting makes the difference whereas you believe that action is the keyword in producing some good results.

Your values may be challenged.  If your values don’t match those with whom you are working with, then nothing will budge.  For instance, if you value trees for their esthetic worth but those around you prefer to cut down trees because they don’t like raking the leaves, then values clash.

The people in the environment in which you live may not support the cause.  No matter how much you try to persuade people to lend a hand, if they don’t care, they won’t lift a finger or even give a dollar towards making that difference. 

Mustering the Troops

You can see that garnering support for a cause has many obstacles right at the start.   People often call me to write grants for them.  Interesting, because when I begin to ask about the numbers of people they have supporting the cause, the amount of money they need, and exactly how they will engage the community, they have no idea.

They tell me that such and such needs help.   They have good intentions but poor development.  Why?  Generally, because they don’t know how.  Their hearts are in the right place but the work is usually far more than they bargained for.

  • If you ever have the idea that you want to help a cause, first do your homework.  Find out what organizations do who have a similar purpose.
  • Read and ask questions about their Vision, Mission, Values and Business Philosophy Statements.
  • Meet some of the people from the organizations either through volunteering or attending a function or two they may present.
  • If  organizations doesn’t exist and you want to start something brand new, search out people who have started new organizations and ask them questions about their experiences.  Talk to them about how they got started and how they’ve learned to survive serving the cause.
  • Put some numbers together – how much will it cost to help?  There is always, always a cost and then ask how you will get the money.  Some people think – just get a grant.  There are many obstacles and hoops to jump through before any organization can get a grant.  The most problematic is obtaining a charitable status number.
  • How much work will be required to undertake this project.  Any project takes a tremendous amount of time especially in finding people to help you.
  • Where will you find your supporters?  How many do you think you can collect?
  • Are you there for the long haul of establishing the organization?
  • And the questions will keep growing as you undertake to make your idea reality and make a difference.

What prices are you willing to pay to make a difference?

Lorraine Arams, On Contract Only


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