Friday, 12 April 2013

The Two-Step Dance

The past month has felt like the glorious "two steps forward, one step back" dance, frankly at times its felt more like no steps forward, three steps back.  Three years ago, I set up a business and it took a day, perhaps two - I filled out some paperwork, paid £150, and boom, done.  Setting up Give Aid Direct as a charity has not been so simple - there are various forms of governance, the need to register with the charity commission who require a constitution, business plans, cash flows, lots of forms, and of course, trustees.  In some of my research this week, I came across this fact from the UK "Most charities bring in funds of less than £10,000 a year." I found it shocking - less than £10,000! Wow. I began to wonder why charities exist if they don't even reach the £10,000 threshold - what is that keeps people motivated to keep going? What impact do these organisations have?

Of course, it is good to have additional checks and balances for charities than for businesses, but it reminds me that having ideas is easy, turning ideas into reality is hard work and often much harder than we think.  I often wonder if the approach we are taking is the correct one?  Do we need to register as charity first?  Can we test the concept without registration? What is wise?  Will the concept even work? Will we break through the £10,000 barrier?  The unknown can be scary, limiting, paralysing or it can be exciting and feel like we are on the cusp of something new, of creating something tangible.  There is something beautiful when fear and possibility meet.  Psychologists would likely tell us that the emotions are closely related and that we can switch between the two quickly due to their relation.  I, for one, have been flipping back and forth often recently.

Yet, at times in my moments of dismay, I stop, pause and consider the interactions I've had along the way.  I think of conversations over the past couple weeks with Julia who likes the idea and wonders why it hasn't been done already, with Rob whose face lit up when I was explaining the idea and provided clarity to me when I was in a muddle, Gary who continues to believe, with Sarah who agreed to be an advisor to the venture, and with Ivana who asked pointed questions and spent time helping to think through communication.  These are all busy people, who have helped to remind me that while there is fear associated with any new venture; it is not the only emotion as there is also possibility, excitement, and even community.

So while the past month has felt like the two-step dance, and while it often feels harder than I imagined, there are lots of people who see the potential and are wanted to see Give Aid Direct a reality and will help make it so.  It is easy to think you are alone in your fear, but often those around us want to see us succeed, if only we allow them to help.