Last year, I wrote a blog called 8 Simple Rules for Cookies (and Fundraising). If you spend as much time in your kitchen as I do, you know that when feeding your hungry family, things change faster than you can say “whisk egg whites until frothy”.
In our home, we’ve stopped eating evil-but-so-tasty gluten. And, for the most part this was a fairly easy transition. But I grieved, mourned and moaned about all my amazing cookie recipes I had amassed over the years. My kid-at-heart peanut butter thumbprints. My spectacular ginger snap. My death by chocolate. And, worst of all, (sob) my perfect chewy chocolate chip cookie.
Sound familiar? Charities change faster than you can say “donations will be automatically receipted for gifts over $20”.
So, many of us find ourselves in the situation where we need to adapt or evolve an idea within our organizations. You need a fresh approach on your spring campaign. You want to adapt that direct response idea that did gangbusters and make it a donor acquisition offer. You need someone other than your boring CEO to be the face of your new campaign.
Back to my cookies for a moment.
It was only a matter of days after we banished gluten until I had the craving – and apron-tugging nagging – for cookies. So I started working with new ingredients. And I’m delighted to tell you that I’m perfecting a new chocolate chip cookie recipe. And it’s divine.
So, in that spirit, here are my 5 tips to not just surviving, but thriving, when you need to change or adapt.
Vive la difference. Celebrate what is special and unique about your evolution. Acknowledge that you have an opportunity and seize it. In the case of my cookies, the almond makes them more delicate, and the flavour more rich.
Hold on to something precious. Keep what is most sacred. We put rainbow sprinkles on virtually all our cookies. That’s how we roll up in here. It’s how my kids would know if I was replaced by a cyborg. Your donors and supporters need to still see and feel what they truly cherish about your organization. But they can still be part of your journey and growth.
Know your audience. OK, this was in the original list (and, in fact, all the 8 Simple Rules still apply) but it’s the most important one to consider in times of change. My new chewy chocolate chip cookie would be certain death for my nut-allergic-mum, Agent Grann. So you must ask yourself how your change affects your donors, as a whole, as segments and as individuals.
You can’t change just one thing. I dare you. Try using coconut flour to scale in place of all purpose flour? Disaster! You have to change how much butter, eggs, baking soda and salt you use too. You don’t have to change the chocolate. “Lots” is still appropriate. Recognize that change can take time and if it’s a big change it will ripple through your organization and your donors.
It’s not about you. Your organization is a way for your donors to take action for something they believe in. Listen to them, talk to them and involve them in your change.
Please share your thoughts on change – or cookies!
And for you fellow foodie fundraisers, here is the working recipe for my new chocolate chip cookie recipe. We are also enjoying new pancake and cupcake adventures. Still tinkering and perfecting and welcome your thoughts!
Cream 1/2 cup butter (room temp) with 1/4 cup white (or coconut) sugar. Mix in 1 egg and 1 tsp vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups almond flour, 1/4 tsp baking soda and a pinch of salt. Combine. Fold in 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Snack on a few chocolate chips to make sure they aren’t poison.
Scoop by heaping teaspoonfuls and roll into balls. Smush, squeeze or lightly clap your hands so they squish a bit. Be careful of rammy 8 year old boys who flatten them completely with unbridled enthusiasm.
Add rainbow sprinkles to the cookies, pan, kitchen and generally fling everywhere.
Bake 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees. Cool just long enough so you don’t get third degree burns when you eat them too fast out of the oven. Enjoy!