Promoting Literacy, Developing Leadership

Promoting literacy is not an easy endeavor for a college student. While many students enroll in college in pursuit of a degree to establish careers and enhance their own job marketability, there is a rare college student who can transport his or her psyche outside of the parallel universe that is college and consider individuals that may have not come from equally favorable economic circumstances.

Yet promoting literacy on a college campus is not all about yourself. The personal rewards one gains go beyond personal satisfaction, extending to a measure of character development and leadership practice that could not be easily attained in the classroom.

If you look at the “7 Best Habits” of effective people popularized by Stephen R. Covey, nearly all of them directly speak to skills practiced through fundraising on college campuses. Covey’s habits deal with self-mastery, considering that private victories of character will precede measurable success. His habits involve teamwork, cooperation, and effective communication. And finally, Covey’s seven habits culminate in self-mastery and lifelong character development based on core virtue.

Habit 1 — Be Proactive, take initiative. Fundraising takes time away from other activities. Proactive people are driven by values intimately tied to their sense of being. Correspondingly, those who take the time away from their own lives to empower people they will never meet do so out of a reflection of their own inner virtues.

Habit 2 — Personal leadership. Act on your principles, and lead by doing the right thing. Know your values and subsequently manage with efficiency. Develop and stick to your own personal mission.

Habit 3 — Effective personal management. Fundraising on campus, especially if in the form of book collections, requires time managing skills as well as the ability to juggle tasks between volunteers and campus entities.

Habit 4 — Think Win/Win. Develop strategies that result in the best result for all actors. When fundraising through book drives, certainly there are winners on every side.

Habit 5 — Communication is most effective when conducted with empathy. Understand an individual or organization before communicating with them. Build trust with the volunteers in your group, the administrators on your campus, and extend these relationships to all those in your personal and professional life.

Habit 6 — Synergy. Value differences and synergize. Promoting literacy is an expression that all understand themselves and the world around them. As a leader, you want to extend skills, not knowledge or assumptions. You are a facilitator, not a lecturer. In doing so, you develop your own sense of humility and reverence to the great benefits from communication.

Habit 7 — Balanced Self-Renewal. Reflect upon your actions and how they respect your own personal values. Live one habit and you increase the ability to practice the rest.

For more info check out “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey.

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