There is syndrome, believe it or not, in the charity fundraising world that is symptomatic with groups or volunteers who are successful one year but not the next and here is the reason or cause why it happens - It’s called the “Sophomoric Syndrome.”
Wikipedia defines the “Sophomoric Syndrome” as when ones effort fails to live up to the standards of the first effort.
Before we go any farther, ask yourself these questions to determine if you are suffering from the "Sophomoric Syndrome"?
#1 - Are you putting forth the same effort as you did last year?
#2 - Are you posting your event and telling everyone how incredible your event is going to be on the Social Networks such as Facebook?
#3 - Are you talking to all of your friends, the same ones you did last year?
#4 - Are you going out looking for donated items and sponsors as you did last year?
#5 - Are you attending Committee or Team meetings like you did last year?
If you answer NO to any of the above questions, than you need to see a Fundraising Doctor immediately.
A very close friend and former Regional Director of an outdoor charity, Scott Berg, told me about it years ago. Scott has worked with 100's of volunteer committees and has seen it all while having a wealth of knowledge surrounding committees and fundraising. What happens is simply this – Let’s say for practical purposes that a charity or group holds an event one year and they work their butts off on it. Their event is successful (moderately or highly successful) and they sit back proud of their accomplishment. However, the following year, they have to start over again.
Because they were successful the previous year, they believe that their previous success will allow them to coast with their next event. They believe tickets will be sold much easier, financial donations will be much easier and getting donations will be much easier to obtain. Furthermore, each and every team member will also think that the other members of the group will pick up their slack. In the end, everyone on the team or group slows down.
However, the opposite is true. Even though everyone knows the event and loved it, the team or committee still must put in the same amount of effort if not more so.
Furthermore, if the team slows down, the possible guests will not see the same amount of effort and they will react negatively to it by not purchasing tickets.
No one is immune from the “Sophomoric Syndrome.” However, great leaders will ensure to motivate their team or committee to strive to make their event much much better while encouraging them to get out there and put in the work.
Again, no one is immune. This even transcends into the business world. Successful people don’t just sit back and coast because they have reached their goals – not at all. The opposite is true – in order to be successful, you must work hard to maintain it. You have to put in the effort to maintain your success and work even harder to keep positive momentum flowing.
Just remember, each year, you have to put forth maximum effort to get maximum results. Do not let boredom slip in or it will spell disaster for whatever you are trying to accomplish.
The cure for “Sophomoric Syndrome” is – believe that every year, your event is BRAND NEW again and put the effort into it to ensure its successful. If not, you will see a marked change when it comes to time to make a deposit into your charities bank account.
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