Monday, January 3, 2011

Creativity comes from....a treadmill?

A friend recently told me that I am funny because I tend to do everything backwards.  Besides, putting my nouns in front of adjectives, friend good, I tend to just do things, well, differently.  I account this, very scientifically, to my astrological sign of rebellious water bearing...its really rebellious, I tell you.
Doing things backwards, like starting a non-profit organization because it is a calling versus a way to shelter money, requires, well, quite frankly, a ton of....creativity.
But, just like any entrepreneurial endeavor, it  takes resourcefulness, a bit of endurance and a ton of creativity.

Sometimes I wish I could record all the thoughts I have on the treadmill....well, okay, not all of them.  I try so hard to not think...but the neurons keep firing.  I think about all the crazy, out of the box ideas that will get Embraced more funding, so that we can continue to grow and help provide more orthopedic and prosthetic equipment to those in need. 

However, every time I start into a new festival idea or think about Battle of the Burgers 2011...I keep remembering a non-profit training seminar where they preached about not focusing on special events as a source of funding.  I somewhat agree and understand that lesson. However, grants are few and far between right now-what in the world is a non-profit supposed to do with the fact that grants right now are so entirely competitive?

Now, I understand why special events should be taken with care and caution.  A lot of the time overhead costs  pile up and  before you know it, you need a huge turnout to even break even.

This is where creativity comes in.  It is an absolute must to make a profit.  Even though you might operate a non-profit, money is still needed.  So, here are my suggestions and things I learned,  should you be planning an event for your non-profit:

1. Get creative- do whatever you have to do- run on a treadmill :),  read the NY times, and do not be afraid to do something different.
2. Trade- with such an array of businesses in financial stress right now, it is a perfect time to trade.  I highly suggested using this when deciding to plan your next event.
3. Facebook is great-  Use it.  If you don't believe it as Goldman Sachs, they just invest $550 million.
4. Waste is bad! - Ask my interns.  I make them use the backs of every paper- yes, every square inch.  Not only is it good for the environment, but we are not hear to waste donors money.  Not even a penny.  Think like that about everything as much as you can within reason.
5. Think big- the only thing holding you back is, well, you.  Reach as far as you can imagine and then add a foot.
6.  Have fun-Attitudes are contagious.  If you are excited, people will get excited.  And, your event will be exciting.

If all else fails, just hop on a treadmill.

-O'Brien, Lauren

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