“For the North Texas Giving Day Newbies: The Cure for the ‘I’ Syndrome:
“Nervous. Anxious. Excited. Frustrated. All over the place. As Founder and CEO of The GEMS Camp – Girls interested in Engineering, Mathematics, and Science, I’ve felt every emotion humanly possible leading up to the 2014 North Texas Giving Day. It’s our first major fundraising event.
“After attending the spring kickoff meeting and seeing a room full of highly respected executive directors, marketing gurus, and fundraising prodigies, I left the meeting feeling very intimidated. We officially received our 501 (c) 3 status in February of this year. I don’t have any major corporate sponsors or donors or grants. As the days pass, I frantically think, ‘It’s coming too quickly!’
“When I listened to my thoughts, all I heard were excuses and self-pity. As a newbie to North Texas Giving Day, I was looking at the success of my organization through my personal lens. I was focusing on the limitations that ‘I’ saw today instead of the opportunities that exist for the ‘organization’ tomorrow. If you are start-up, have a limited budget or staff, or are new to North Texas Giving Day, push past your fears and remember this: Everybody had to start somewhere.
“So what if you don’t raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. Our fundraising goal is small, $10,000. This will give us the program funds necessary to launch two new campsites in the Dallas and Houston areas in 2015. That’s 60 new economically disadvantaged, girls who will be equipped to pursue studies and future careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Those are the numbers ‘I’ should be proud of and each one represents an advancement in our mission.
“This week, I heard an anonymous quote. ‘There is no traffic on the extra mile.’ Being new to this gargantuan event with thousands of organizations raising millions of dollars, my attitude and tenacity as The GEMS Camp leader will spur my organization’s small team to go the extra mile together. Perhaps, what I perceive to be limitations are actually the fuel we need to take those risks others aren’t willing to take.
“To those organizational leaders who are new to North Texas Giving Day, you’re probably feeling antsy to some extent. Trust me, I feel your pain. Get creative and maximize your organization’s strengths. Deemphasize your personal weaknesses. Celebrate small wins, and expect to have a greater impact on those you serve simply by showing up.
”And finally to the donors and funders that participate in North Texas Giving Day, thank you! We look forward to being part of this wonderful event and anticipate another successful year! GEMS can’t wait to celebrate another record-breaking year with all of the deserving North Texas nonprofits.”
-By Saki Milton, The GEMS Camp Founder and CEO