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What I Learned from Girl Scouts

Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout.  In my Guiding and Scouting career, I learned many lessons that still apply to aspects of my life today – including fundraising.

I wasn’t always the best Girl Scout, but our own mistakes are often the best lessons.  And when you have the guidance of more experienced peers, and strong adult leaders to help you along, the results can last a lifetime.

Here are some of my most memorable Scouting lessons, and how they apply to fundraising:

Be Prepared

Ask successful fundraisers what the secret is to achieving their goals.  Most will touch on preparedness.  That’s because success is rarely an accident.  It’s a calculated achievement derived through effective goal setting, organization and follow through.

Plan ahead.  Always.

Appearances Do Matter

Our uniforms were inspected at each meeting.  Everything had to be in place and neatly arranged.  Why?  Two reasons:

1. When everything is neatly in place, it’s easily accessible.  At troupe meetings, this meant whistles and pencils (the pencil was handy, the whistle I could never figure out).  At camp, this meant everything you needed to survive.

2. A person who takes pride in how they present themselves to the world is more likely to stand taller, respect themselves and others, have confidence, act appropriately and garner respect from those around them.

When fundraising, I’ve found it important to have group members dress neatly and in full uniform (if your group has one), or in clothing appropriate for the event.  It really does make a big difference in how they present themselves and interact with others.

Candy Melts

I learned this one in DISOBEYING the lessons I was taught by my Scout leaders.  Specifically, the “no candy at camp” rule.  It melts.  It’s sticky.  Animals like it.

True for fundraising too.  Take the season into account when choosing your fundraising product.  Middle of July?  Maybe not the best time for chocolate.  Scratchcards or magazines?  Melt proof.

Your Best is Your Best

The Scouting Promise starts, “I promise to do my best.”  If you truly are doing the very best that you can do, then it’s the best that you can do.  Period.

Don’t expect yourself to move mountains.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a step back to reassess.  Do you need to delegate?  Do you need to recruit volunteers?  Is there something you can let go, or reorganize?

No one, especially you, can ever expect you to do more than your best.

Teamwork Isn’t Just About Work

Girl Scouts and Girl Guides across the world work together.  We pitch tents together.  We cook together.  We hike together.  We solve problems together.  We fundraise together.  You get the picture.

Teamwork isn’t just about the work, it’s about the relationships.

Let this be part of your fundraising event.  Your group isn’t just there to raise funds; they’re also there to strengthen bonds that will help them and your organization to grow.

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