You never know where support for your program might come from. Give surprise every chance. Here is a surprise I was involved in recently:
Last June, on the culminating day of Side by Side by El Sistema Sweden in Gothenburg, I was asked to give a little speech to a gathering of Side by Side’s supporters and interested influential people in the city and region. We were about to see an unforgettable performance of 2,200 young musicians from their Sistema program and from non-Sistema programs, including from beyond Sweden. In my talk, I urged these Swedish supporters to become more active in letting people know about Side by Side—this remarkable, globally-significant event wasn’t widely celebrated in their region. At the end of my talk, I auctioned a copy of Playing for Their Lives (which is a book about the global growth of El Sistema, and which I co-authored with Tricia Tunstall) to the person who would promise to tell the greatest number of people about Side by Side.
The bidding started low, at 5 (meaning, “I’ll tell five people about Side by Side”). It got competitive: 10, 25, 68, and into the hundreds. Finally it was down to two men bidding against each other, and to everyone’s delight, Kenneth Linton won with a bid of 300. I thought it was pretty unlikely he would actually tell three hundred people about Side By Side, but was excited at his ambition. Ten months later, I got the following email from Kenneth. He restated his bid/promise and then wrote:
Now a year has passed. It is time to update you. I have given a number of lectures to various groups, mainly Rotary chapters, Lions’ Clubs, Round Table, and a number of other groups. My lectures are normally 45–60 minutes. The subject, of course, is Side by Side. So far I have lectured to 487 people at 23 different venues. My lectures will continue next fall.
I enclose a list of all groups and the number of participants at each occurrence.
Did I deliver on my promise? I think I did!
Kenneth M Linton
The moral of the story: Encourage your supporters, playfully, to become even more active in supporting your program. Enthusiasm radiates.
Author: Eric Booth, Publisher, The World Ensemble