Tuesday, August 28, 2012

BIG’s Blog: You Can Do This

When the issue of technology comes up, some… not all… Baby Boomer-age fundraising leaders become tense, thinking that maybe they are not as “on top of it” as younger staff. There is also the hesitation to jump into conversations of new technology for fear of not looking competent.

But, of course, over the next five to ten years, technology will fundamentally shift the fundraising workplace.

I remember the feeling of technological unease very vividly. I had just stepped out of a company in 2000, where the average age was 36, and into a start-up technology company where the average age was 25.

In my former company I had a secretary… not to mention an IT staff… and we used Lotus Notes, which acted as our email platform and was a collaboration tool. In the new company they used Microsoft Outlook. When they handed me the laptop with Outlook on it, frankly I thought, “this is beyond me, I’ll struggle to figure it out, there is no one to answer my questions, and I will look incompetent and too old to be here.”

Within a day I knew a thousand percent more than the day I received Outlook. The second day I learned even more, and by the end of the week I couldn’t imagine being without Outlook.

That experience was my epiphany moment. From that point on I have never assumed I couldn’t learn a new tool or software, or how to navigate a new platform like Facebook or Twitter. Am I instantly a power user? Of course not. But I assume that I will be able to figure it out over time.

Why do I mention this story? Because there are a lot of “me’s” out there. And just like me, you assume you can’t figure it out. Wrong- Wrong – Wrong! Trust me; we will never intuit technology like 20 or 30-somethigs, we are, after all the User Manual generation, but we will get it and then we are ahead of the 20 and 30-somethings because – let’s be frank – there is so much they don’t know about life, work, and relationships.  

The hurdle is not being able to figure it out; the hurdle is between our ears telling us that we can’t do it. Fundraising is going to rapidly change… it’s already changing… regardless of what you are doing or not doing.

Don’t be afraid of this new world… you can do this.


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