I had the great privilege of joining a conversation between Bill Drayton, founder of Ashoka, and the 2011 NGen Fellows of Independent Sector yesterday.
I won't walk you through the details, but there was a thread running through the conversation which we all need to hear.
Ashoka is about change. All of us have to develop the skills needed to adapt to evolutionary change on an ongoing basis. If we don't, we become irrelevant in this world.
All of us have the capacity to be change agents, to be entrepreneurs. Nowhere is this more essential than in our community of fundraisers.
We can choose to learn and adapt, to adopt the global community of fundraisers as our community, and in doing so evolve and change. But to do that we need two qualities: empathy, an understanding and sympathy for others that recognizes the many different routes to success, and humility, a recognition that our way is not the only, nor even the right, way to achieve change.
For many of us this is a hard lesson to learn. For the next generation of fundraisers it's instinctive—hardwired into their systems. Let's have the humility to learn from them.
If you haven't already, check out the Ashoka website and get to know Bill Drayton. When you have, you'll wish you'd done it many years ago.