Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Leadership Toledo, Part IV

Tuesday was another Leadership Toledo day. The second one this month and it was a special day.

For those of you not familiar with the LT program, we choose non-profit groups to assist with whatever needs they may have as part of our responsibilities this year.

This is how it works.

A request for submissions is sent out to the various non-profits in the area.

An LT volunteer committee winnowed the large number of entrants to ten finalists.

Tuesday, each group had twenty minutes to present to us to help us understand their needs and also to sell us on the idea of linking with them.

Only six would be chosen. Our LT group numbers 54 participants this year, so that means each project would have about 9 people working on it.

The way the groups were organized was interesting. At a verbal signal, all of us were instructed to gather around the sign on the wall that denoted our non-profit. We knew that if there were too many of us that we'd have round 2, round 3, etc. until the groups were evenly divided.

Two projects garnered most of the people. Those two projects had an emotional appeal and the plus the presenters had known how to use that emotion to their advantage.

Those groups that needed more bodies were given the opportunity to speak to the rest of the us to try to convince us to move their way.

The spokesperson (see picture at the right) for the small group that had chosen The Harvest Theater spoke more passionately about his choice than the "official" representative of the theater had. He said, "I will probably volunteer on my own for one or both of the projects where all of you are standing, but let me tell you why I volunteered for the Harvest Theater project. We all know about how young people are leaving Toledo because of lack of opportunities and culture. Those people are my age. I want to help this group become a stronger entity so they can add one more reason for my generation to stay here in Toledo. If you want to be part of that, come help me."

Two people immediately joined his group.

I was impressed. But I shouldn't have been, because we all know that emotion sells and then people justify their purchases logically.

I did not move, because in my heart I wanted to help Hannah's Socks, but I'll tell you about that another day.

Would you have moved to the Harvest Theater project because of the thoughtful plea?

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