The Braille Monitor                                                                              October 2005

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Whozit Calling You

by Kevan Worley

From the Editor: Kevan Worley chairs the Imagination Fund Committee. Our three-month campaign to raise a half million dollars began in September. Kevan is imaginative and energetic. Here are his thoughts halfway through the campaign:

Kevan Worley 

Kevan Worley

Are you an Imaginator? If not, the time to become one is now. An Imaginator is an NFB member or friend of the Federation who is willing to make a gift or pledge to the Imagination Fund, ask at least ten people for a gift or a pledge to the Imagination Fund, or provide the NFB with the names of his or her top ten list of contacts and follow up with a call to those on the list once he or she has been notified that the direct mail appeal has been sent.

The Imagination Fund fall campaign is upon us. I encourage you to join me and your colleagues across the nation as we embark on a campaign to raise a half million dollars for our Imagination Fund. We have imagined a future full of opportunity, and now we want to make that opportunity a reality.

Already an Imaginator? Thatís great. But it is not enough to just be an Imaginator; you need to be ready to behave like one. It is easy to say, ďIíll get around to it.Ē Itís easy to say, ďYeah, Iíll make a contribution,Ē or ďIíll make a pledge and make my payments later.Ē Itís easy to think, ďYou know I really should contact old friends, former classmates, or family members--yeah, Iíll get to it.Ē Weíre all caring Federationists. We are all well intentioned about building that list of ten or twenty names to submit for an Imagination Fund mailing. But, if we arenít careful, our best intentions will remain unfulfilled. So here are some canít-miss, quick-start ideas that I hope will motivate you to begin today. These strategies worked for me and others during last yearís Imagination Fund campaign.

Making a pledge or donation yourself is the best way to get started and gain personal momentum. It doesnít have to be huge, but it ought to be of sufficient size to allow you to say with pride, ďHey, I have contributed to the fund that is supporting the significant and meaningful work we are doing at our NFB Jernigan Institute and in all of our affiliates.Ē

Ask several friends--and do it right now--to join you as an Imaginator. Ask them to start by making a contribution. These Imaginators can be family members, neighbors, colleagues, or members of other organizations.

Compile your list of names. Challenge your memory. Whom do you know or can remember from the past who might give to support the great work of our movement? Spend a little time on this. You will probably come up with more people than you first thought you could. Take a walk down memory lane. Who was your favorite teacher? Who has expressed fondness for you throughout your life? Most of us have known at least a few people with whom weíve had special relationships. What neighbors speak to you from time to time? Do you have co-workers who would not mind being approached about the kind of exciting, innovative work we are doing at the NFB Jernigan Institute and in your affiliate? People like to give when they know the contribution will help people in their community. Who in your community has approached you for advice about blindness because a loved one is facing macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy? These folks perhaps more than any others are eager to change what it means to be blind.

What about your siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, in-laws? Take a day or two, but not too long; donít put it off. Dream up a big list. Focus. Write down every name that pops into your head. Call a close friend or relative for further suggestions. Call an old friend from high school or college to get their ideas for the list youíre building. Ask your parents for their ideas. Think about the community or fraternal organizations of which you are a member. Write down the names of your fellow members. Most important, do not limit yourself. If you think of a name, put it on the list. Donít think, ďOh, she would never give.Ē At this point you are just compiling a long list of names. Also donít think, ďWell, I donít have his contact information.Ē You can probably come by that information with a little effort, so write down the name.

Ok, now you have built a pretty large list of names. The length is up to you. Itís your list. Congratulations! If you have made an honest effort, whether itís eight or eighty or eight hundred, thank you for a great start. Now itís time to track down the contact information. Donít panic. Youíre on a roll. Youíve got momentum.

You need the name, complete address, phone number, and if possible the email address. Back to the drawing board. Brainstorm to yourself, ďHow do you find this information?Ē For many on your list it should be easy. You probably already have most of the information. With some diligence and imagination you should be able to assemble the contact data for most of the people on your list.
You may want to retrace some of the steps you used when you brainstormed the list. Touch base with siblings, parents, and old friends; see if they have any of the data you need. Along the way, as you explain why youíre gathering all this information, you can encourage their involvement and support. Recruit a couple of these close friends or family members as Imaginators themselves. Inspire them to build their own lists. When you come to a name on your list for which you cannot find contact information fairly quickly, donít get bogged down. Skip that contact and move on to the next name. Remember your goal is to keep up the momentum.

Now that you have done the research and gathered most if not all the contact information, I thank you again. Job well done. Now it is time to roll up your sleeves and really get to work. This will be the fun part. Remember you have the momentum. Decide if you want to submit your comprehensive list to us so that we can mail directly to these potential donors on your behalf, after which you will then make a phone call expressing your personal support for and endorsement of the work we are all doing and the need for the Imagination Fund. Or do you want to sit down right now and begin seriously contacting your list of friends, colleagues, and family members in person, by phone, or by mail, asking for their support? Itís not that daunting, really. Youíd be surprised how pleasant, warm, and giving those on your list will be. Many of them would be disappointed if you didnít approach them about something this important to you.

You can do it! You have the momentum! Donít let the days fade into weeks and then into months. Start now. Letís multiply our efforts. You read the Monitor. You know about all the fabulous work we are doing. Chances are you had some part in making it happen. Please get started now and help fund the technology development and training programs for the blind of today and tomorrow.
We have produced an excellent brochure that we encourage you to use when you send your request for support to your friends, associates, and family members. And donít forget, some portion of the money you raise will help you build stronger affiliates. Remember to let people know that half of the money raised during this annual campaign will go directly to our Jernigan Institute to pay for opportunities never before imagined, opportunities that will make a difference in your life.

So affiliate leaders, chapter board members, NFB divisions, and committees, special interest activists, casual Monitor readers, professionals in the blindness field, blind vendors, and those of you who attend chapter meetings only occasionally, now is the time to make a difference, a big difference. You can do it, so please get going. Get started quickly to make a difference of long-lasting significance. Become an Imaginator. Start today, right now, to help us build a future full of opportunity. Thank you.

For more information, call me, Kevan Worley, at (719) 527-0488, or email <imagine@nfb.org>, or call Izzy Menchero, (410) 659-9314, ext. 2408.

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