News August 10, 2017

Blog from President and CEO Anne Goodman: “What About Failure?

Posted on 08/10/17

(8.10.17) In our work at Saint Luke’s, we get to know organizations that are dealing with individuals, families and communities facing really tough – and complex – circumstances. There are creative ways to address these circumstances, some of them really effective and others not so much. If I had one message to our partners, it would be “that’s okay.” Try it, evaluate results and learn. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and next time work harder, try something else or stop doing something that isn’t working.

The Saint Luke’s Foundation wants to not only be a part of successful efforts, but to be a part of innovation. Presumably, the world would have no problems if all of our current solutions were working as they are. But sadly, that is not the case.

Innovation has one key component that not everyone has the stomach for: risk of failure.

How many failures did NASA’s Apollo program witness? The response to failure was to figure out what went wrong and fix it for the next try. Eventually, after years of hard work, successes and failures, we got to the moon. And then it led to creating a shuttle that could go back and forth to the moon, and now we have seen Mars; who knows what comes after that.

We are all familiar with the age-old question “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”. Try turning this on its ear and ask yourself what you would do if failure was a possibility, but you embraced the challenge on a journey of continuous improvement? What would you do if you knew you would be more effective every time you tried? To be willing to try something that has never been done before based on educated experience is bravery.

In the world of fundraising many funders want to bet on horses that are going to win. No matter how much we have to give, it isn’t enough. Investing wisely in our mission is of vital importance. There is nothing wrong with that. But we, too, have to take risks. Challenge us to do so and have the courage to let us know when the risk didn’t turn out as planned. At Saint Luke’s we consider partnership as a value of the utmost importance. Be assured that we will walk that talk with you.


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