In their book – The Accounting Game – Darrell Mullis and Judith Orloff give a fascinating account of something we thought we should share ‘How do people learn? The theories are endless. They include ideas ranging from genetic imprinting and osmosis to modeling and emotional intelligence. Brain research is voluminous in the 21st century. For now, let’s ask ourselves: How do I learn best? Isn’t that an interesting question? Do you learn best by reading, watching videos, discussing, thinking alone, writing, drawing mind maps, turning new knowledge into a song and dance routine? We are all so different, and our ways of learning vary.
Research has shown, interestingly, that is when we use a variety of methods to learn that knowledge embeds itself more deeply, seeping into our minds, hearts and whole beings, so that it becomes part of our nature. ‘Head learning’ alone rarely changes us.
Think about how you learned in your first years of life and at pre-primary school. You probably learned more in those early years that you have ever learned since – without any effort whatsoever. You learned because a) we are designed to learn – it is in our DNA and b) you were surrounded by real objects, language, colour, sound and opportunities to emulate. You drew pictures. You sang. You played. You watched videos. You did group activities and you spend time observing and thinking (though you may not have been aware of it).
When you entered high school, learning became formal and immediately you started to forget. Learning was no longer plain sailing – you stuffed facts into your brain, where it stayed for a short while in the short-term memory, but because it was done under duress and in a one-sided way – reading only – you retained very little of it.’
What does this have to do with this conference? Good question.
The Great Funders Conference (17 – 20 September 2019) was developed to create specific learning experiences for delegates and involves a variety of formats so that new ideas may really take root and change the way we think and do things. We’ll be examining the big picture of CSI in South Africa, and we’ll be thrashing out some of the details, too. We’ll be presenting through formal talks, small group discussions, papers, maps, drawings and colour. We call this ‘accelerated learning’.
The methodology we envisage for The Great Funders Conference in some ways parallels how we learned at pre-primary school. We want learning to be stimulating, fun, varied and lasting. We’d like to access that part of your brain where long-term memory lives. For example: Wear yellow sneakers on Day 3 (Millennial War Room). Now we know that not everyone will wear yellow sneakers, and we won’t kick you if you don’t – but let’s see how many of you can at least try. Then we have our evening presentation – a black tie affair – whip out that dinner jacket or that cocktail dress, do your hair, and let’s have fun while shifting the mood. In addition, learnings made during presentations that outline topics in broad terms will be broken down during small group discussions, where you should be honest, real, have fun … sing if you wish to – the point is to interact at a deeper level than is usually possible during presentations’ Q and A sessions.
Involving the emotions
One way to really embed learning in the long-term memory is to involve the emotions, because emotions and long-term memory are located in the same place in our brains – the limbic region.
We’re not saying this conference will make our delegates weep, but we do hope that you will bring your full self to it – your frustrations, aspirations, burning issues and passion. CSI is changing fast across the globe, but not fast enough in South Africa. Many people still regard it as a box ticking exercise, and some miss out on the joy of really making a difference by taking little interest in the NGOs they fund. Effective CSI means corporates and NGOs collaborating in ways that bring real change – and corporates collaborating with other corporates, too. CSI is about changing, uplifting, making a difference – not sitting in ivory towers and simply dispensing funds.
Catching the vision
profession requires some level of commitment and vision. And that, ultimately,
is what we want to see emerging from this conference – a sense of a greater,
unifying vision for the work we do. Many of our CSI managers have come to their
positions via HR, accounting, marketing or a dozen other avenues, and have
never fully questioned the responsibilities they now hold. The Great Funders Conference is for all of you who have not understood
or who have felt yourselves foundering when it comes to the big decisions
you’re required to make. Once you catch the vision, you will see what a privilege
it is to be able to impact lives through functioning NGO partners.
We also believe that many attempts to deal with funding fail because too much attention is paid to small issues and the big picture gets lost. There are many players in CSI, and all need to fit together well so that we fulfill our overarching mandate of developing South Africa. Our goal is always to develop a nation that is healthy, crime free, environmentally and psychologically sound, well educated, well balanced and economically thriving. All of this is within our reach, but we have to catch the vision and see our role within it to make it happen.
The Great Funders Conference promises not to overburden
delegates with details, but to focus on the key concepts of funding so that any
development practitioner can grasp the essentials and develop strategies that
are creative, sincere and impactful.
Welcome to critical thinking for advanced industry growth.
Welcome to The Great Funders Conference 2019.