05 Nov CAUSE & EFFECT: Be Bold and Bolder
There are certain times it is not wise to search for information on the internet. I am reminded of this every time I google an unknown medical symptom, or the risks associated with a mysterious rash. If you click on links long enough the prognosis is always fatal.
Most recently my deep digging nearly derailed an outdoor experience I had been anticipating for months. I was going to hike a slot canyon in Utah that can only be accessed by traveling through a river bed. The beauty of the hike is also the challenge. Eight hours in the river navigating rocks, boulders, thigh deep cold water and a bit of a current. The hike was classified as strenuous, but I had done my homework and felt ready to give it a try.
The night before the hike, I made the dreaded internet search mistake. Tales of instant death due to unexpected flash flooding on the river, broken legs, and nights trapped in the canyon put me into major second thought mode.
I looked over at my husband with fear in my eyes, and he said the magic words, “get off the internet, we will check with the park rangers tomorrow.” I shut down my browser and laid awake most of the night, telling myself to be bold.
I am not known for my boldness in physical feats. I am overly cautious, don’t move too fast and my family has spent lots of time waiting on me on hikes, go-carts, bike trails and other adventures. I push myself to participate at all due to my fearfulness. But I do it. I want to be bold.
Boldness does not have to mean you are the head risk taker or take unnecessary foolish chances. In my case I like to think of it as not being fearful of trying something new, even when you are feeling risk adverse.
Over the last number of years there has been much discussion on boldness or the lack of it in the nonprofit sector. As a whole the social sector is not well known for its risk taking. The rule book for operating a nonprofit has historically been much different than the private sector. Boards take their governance and fiduciary responsibilities seriously and no one wants to be on a board that sinks the mission with a bad decision. But is that fear keeping us from being bold and fearless in ways that could advance the world changing work we all signed up for in the beginning?
Last weekend, Dan Pallotta, who is widely credited with changing the national conversation about impact and overhead in charity in America traveled to Southwest Florida to hold his Bolder Board Training™ in the Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s newly opened Collaboratory. Pallotta’s 2013 TED talk on philanthropy is one of the 100 most-viewed TED talks of all time. His book, “Uncharitable,” is the best-selling title in the history of Tufts University Press. The Stanford Social Innovation Review said that it, “deserves to become the nonprofit sector’s new manifesto.”
Bolder Board Training™ helps charity boards awaken, articulate and pursue their most magnificent dreams. It teaches boards how to work with their CEOs to create audacious possibilities for impact. It is the first board training designed specifically to offer boards a pragmatic and conscientious alternative to the culture of financial deprivation and constriction that they often find themselves upholding.
It is not a traditional training on governance and finance. It is an immersion in possibility and aspiration that positively and radically disrupts traditional ways of thinking. It is part lecture, part workshop. It is designed specifically for boards.
120 board members from 32 nonprofit organizations spent last Saturday with Pallotta and one another to build and deliver a vision for their organizations.
The day was made possible in part by the support of fearless philanthropist Scott Fischer who wants to explore what it could mean for our region if nonprofit boards began dreaming big dreams for their organizations. We were so appreciative of Scott because we know boldness inspires more boldness, fear diminishes, and we are energized to take on new and bigger challenges.
After checking in with the rangers who assured me there was no evidence of flash flooding and only a 1 percent chance of rain, renting the right equipment and channeling my inner boldness, I made the hike. And after a day of Bolder Board Training™ there is a whole cohort of nonprofit boards in our region who are ready to dream big and be bold in creating impact in Southwest Florida. My adventure is over but theirs is just beginning.
About the Southwest Florida Community Foundation
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, founded in 1976, cultivates regional change for the common good through collective leadership, social innovation and philanthropy to address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Foundation partners with individuals, families and corporations who have created more than 400 philanthropic funds. Thanks to them, the Foundation invested $6.3 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of more than $126 million, it has provided $79.9 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves since inception. The Foundation is the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition and Lee County’s Sustainability Plan. The Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s regional headquarters are now located in the historic ACL Train Depot at Collaboratory in downtown Fort Myers, with satellite offices located on Sanibel Island, in LaBelle (Hendry County). For more information, call 239-274-5900 or visit www.floridacommunity.com