It’s about 8PM PST and I’m settling in for a short sleep before I take off back to school in the morning. I’ll be leaving with Ashley Upham from Project 7 at around 3:30 tomorrow morning, so I wanted to get this recap out before I lose my fire from today.
Another Creative Sunrise Morning
After grabbing some oatmeal and coffee to go, I sat down for a few minutes with Eugene Cho from One Day’s Wages. We discussed a bit about how they select their grant recipients and the role of their network- of those engaged with them- in that process. I’ll look forward to a follow up article about these guys. Did you know that giving up just one day of your salary (which is roughly .4% of your income) can make a truly dynamic difference? Like I said, there’s an article to come.
Afterward, I stepped into the morning session where Nisa Islam Mohammed shared a bit about Wedded Bliss Foundation, a culture-changing group that is making the effort to transform marriages and relationships for both teens and adults. Keith Kall from World Vision talked about the roll of capitalism in development, shedding light on the fact that we have the responsibility to do a much better job in the developing world than we have been. I think my favorite quote from this talk was “We don’t want to make people less poor. That’s the wrong mentality. We want to make people richer, wealthier.”
We also heard from Brian Cooper from A Glimmer of Hope Foundation, Greg Russinger from Just One, Jeff Shinabarger from Gift Card Giver, Lee Fox from KooDooz, Lotay Yang from the Black Card Circle Foundation and Scott Harrison of charity:water. Again, we were presented with interesting challenges- engage the youth for the sake of your cause, be creative in providing human care, make use of the unused gift cards in your wallet, be real about communicating impact. Scott Harrison shared his story from nightlife promotion to clean water advocacy. It was encouraging to see a man so honest about his journey and so focused in his work. He’s wants to provide access to clean water the 1 billion people without it on this planet.
Midday: Diving Deeper
I wish I had the ability to go to each of the break out sessions and capture a part of each of the discussions. However, I was able to sneak into Lee Fox’s talk about the power of kids engaged in service learning and the value they are able to offer non-profits. She provided some excellent case studies of both Milennials and Gen Zs doing anything from water drives, walks for health, fundraising, and even a story of a 13-year-old giving a TED talk.
I then jumped over to Scott Harrison’s session about story telling where he asked the audience to evaluate charity:water’s recent Haiti campaign Unshaken. Through this campaign, charity:water is looking to raise $1.3MM to provide clean water to 11 communities in Haiti. This was a fascinating opportunity for participants to contribute in an applied problem-solving exercise. Harrison diligently took notes as the group offered insights on how to make the campaign more effective.
Art, Expression and Communication Changes Lives
After the session, I took a break to allow some of what these past two days have brought to sink in. And here are some of my thoughts as I get ready to head back to Indiana.
The !deation conference provided a space that encouraged seriously creative people to interact. They did this in a few different ways. First, the space itself was radically different from other conferences I’ve attended. The stage was a catwalk, art filled the main lobby, there were several opportunities to write on black paper with silver markers, and Janine Underhill from Future Wave Consulting did an incredibly beautiful job of creative notetaking. For a sector that is often known for being slow and boring, this was a radically refreshing experience. Second, even though over 200 people attended this event, there was an atmosphere of networking that was awesome. Speakers stayed around to talk with people, groups went out for dinner, and Charles Lee concluded with the opportunity for open feedback.
I’d like to conclude with a few encouragements and challenges for those who attended and those in the space:
- Be creative in your story telling. One of the coolest parts of this event was the effort I saw of organizations to explain what words like “sustainable”, “effective” and “impact” actually meant. Don’t get lazy in this. Stamping the word “sustainable” in front of your projects doesn’t mean that it is. For more on buzz words check out a recent post of mine for Full Contact Philanthropy.
- Be excellent in follow up. We’ve all gotten a lot of business cards and contacts over the past couple of days. Be diligent in your efforts to connect with those you want to stay in touch with. It’s easy to get busy- don’t lose the opportunity!
- Take the time to write and process what you’ve been learning and then implement it! This might even mean that you take some time this weekend to sort through all that you’ve absorbed this week. And then pick 2-3 things that you’re going to translate into action in the next month or so.
- Challenge yourself to be free in creativity. Dream big and then act.
I have to say, it was a true privilege to be in the same room with so many amazing people these past two days. This was the first time that I was able to be at a conference and truly know that not only did we all belong in this room, in this community, but being here was a way for all of us to listen, learn, engage, and affect lives. If you weren’t able to attend this year and even if you were, I would highly recommend that you be ready the second registration opens up for !deation 2011. This is a community that you want to be a part of if you’re driven to “Love human. Do Good.” Period. Charles Lee and team, well done.