This is Art - Rose MandalaAs I mentioned in my last post, my new blog plan is to follow some of the hands -on work we are doing with our clients. We have a couple of pretty exciting projects, and one in particular was outside my professional area of expertise, yet I felt it had amazing opportunities to engage the public. My background is in health and science, and my skill set includes strategic planning, fundraising, project management and logistics. These are easily and well applied to other types of projects, such as this new one, which was an art project. The elements would be the same, simply a different set of folks to contact and engage about awareness, interest and support.

There are two artists who created this project: one of the partners, Evelyn, was enthused, responsive and embraced the details of producing the project. The other, Porsche, remained more distant, saying she felt her contribution was the concept of the art. Once the structure and timeline for our work was spelled out to her, however, her attitude improved and she began to see ways that she could participate more energetically. Great.

It’s Perfect, Now Change Everything:

At my next meeting with Evelyn, she told me that Porsche had not read any of the emails or planning documents prior to our meeting. But now that she understands, she is eager, however, she wants to change the subject matter and change some aspects of the plan. She felt she should not have to do any of the leg work, and further, she did not want to include any of her contact list to the mailing list. The timeframe would have to shift, as would the location and programming.

This change of plan came packaged in some language that I kindly refer to as ‘handwaving’: no facts, course of action, some vague rumblings about how this shift would improve the result. And someone else would have to make the changes to accommodate her.

A Moment of Clarity

As Joan Crawford once wonderfully remarked, “this is not my first rodeo.” I could see how this was going to go; we have all had to work with folks like this. I could see the future and it did not include meeting the project’s goals, agenda or deadline. I could see frustration, arguments and disappointment and I have not even gotten into how I would feel.

Therefore, the decision, my decision was to let this client, and this project go. It is hard to say no, but I felt it would have been harder to attempt to deliver the impossible, and in the process, hurt or destroy relationships; between myself and my client, between the two artist clients.

So, I am not sure who I fired, her or me, but I do know that this was the smart call all around. Just not the easy one.

Cindy Lauren - Lauren Associates - non profit consultingCindy Lauren is the Principal of Lauren Associates – non profit consulting

As well as advising Executives and Boards on all aspects of nonprofit management, the firm specializes in developing fundraising solutions for all sizes of organizations.

Connect with Cindy: Twitter, Linkedin, Quora