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  • Sharron Batsch

Where on Earth?

Many of us read “Where’s Waldo” books as children or have read them to our children. It was an exercise in sheer fun trying to locate Waldo or his friends in a picture teaming with images designed to make the task daunting. Success took time but it was time well spent in the pursuit to locate the desired images much enjoyed by family and friends who participated.

Many of us work in a “Where’s Waldo” environment without being aware of it. The similarities exist when we are trying to locate important or valuable pieces of information. What happens when what we want to locate has disappeared into a jumble of folders, notes, spreadsheets, or somewhere?

Our search will take us to the shared drive. With unknown layers of folders created by ever-diligent staff, it is not unlike going into the depths of the ocean. You may need to find an associate for their feedback but wait, aren’t they on holiday? Then there is the individual who is no longer with the organization and left voluminous notes in binders to be viewed.

Leave the "Find Waldo" experience where it belongs,

in children’s books, where searching is fun and not a liability.

Maybe the information is in the database but the only user who can access it, is away with the flu. Minutes turn into hours and the search party is losing its ability to meet its goal in time. The information being sought is needed to shore up a meeting with a donor, a funder, a grant submission, or a sponsorship request. This valuable insight is something with the promise of potential dollars to support the organization’s mission. Anxiety sets in as the search continues unfulfilled. This description may seem a bit extreme but then again maybe not.

Finding Waldo in the form of searches happens all the time. Why is the one and only asset a charity has to drive its funding so often treated like a character in a "Find Waldo" story? Your files are like the character who gets little attention until it’s needed. Then you are castigated because of the time it takes to find this information and the results of looking are never one hundred percent satisfactory.

It is time to leave the "Waldo" experience behind and look for a better way to establish a system to manage what the charity knows, what it learns, and how it performs tasks. T

These elements constitute the basis of a knowledge management system, an ever-growing asset that can offer staff respite from stress and the organization a sustainable future.

If you are wondering if your organization is the only one struggling with this problem, be assured you aren’t. However, change is not for everyone. The management of information to ensure it is accessible, accurate, and complete is for those charities aiming to provide a high-performance environment to support fund development objectives while reducing roadblocks and frustration.

Enjoy a workplace with less stress and fewer moments of anxiety by implementing a knowledge management focus to protect and administer a charity’s most important asset. Leave the "Find Waldo" experience where it belongs, in children’s books, when searching is fun and not a liability.

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