We have all heard said that ideas are worth a dime a dozen EXCEPT the one that works. After all an idea is just a thought, with no value until it is put into action. EXECUTING THE IDEA is the key to profiting from the idea, not the idea itself.


An idea really doesn’t have value until it’s implemented properly. Here's one scenario. One local board had a great start for the year. They met in July and planned those things they wanted to accomplish; board meetings, general meetings, candidates meetings, voter service, activities for Sunshine Week, League's 90th Anniversary (next year) and other visibility efforts.

In September an additional idea was put forth as a different approach to recruit members. The local League would sponsor a craft show and sale with donations from the current membership. This would bring to a League event people that do not normally attend "League-like" meetings. So far, so good.

A newbie board member thought it would be good to recruit from businesses asking them to donate items and have an opportunity to speak about their product(s). She figured this would bring in more people. Flyers could be produced and distributed around the county. The additional plan could have been okay if there were enough people willing to secure a large enough venue, and market the event. The board voted the enhanced project down. Would you?

I have spoken with many of Leagues over the years, both state and local. When they brainstorm, everyone has ideas on how to better run their League, how to increase membership, how to raise funds, how to be more visible, etc. They are up to their ears with ideas. The key difference between the successful Leagues and those struggling Leagues is that the successful Leagues have a plan in place to evaluate, select and execute those winning ideas. Everyone has ideas, but not everyone has the discipline to implement and execute those ideas.


  • First, it requires an evaluation. How does that new idea fit into your League given the talent, member base and plans currently in place? How much value can that new idea generate in new members, money or intangible value? Is this the right idea for my League to get involved with? And most importantly, are there other ideas that could generate more value for the same investment of resources?
  • Second, the idea requires a plan. Who is responsible for seeing the idea move forward? What are the steps required for implementation? Who needs to be brought on board with the idea? What’s the time table for testing and developing the idea? What do our members think about it? What does our board think about it?
  • Third, the idea requires resources. One person needs to be is accountable for the idea and master of the project. Monies need to be allocated. Extra time needs to be scheduled. Attention and resources will be borrowed from other projects. A level of commitment has to be established at the decision point to go or not to go forward. And finally you reach a point of no return, when you just put the idea into action and start selling it.

All this commitment, reshuffling and reallocation of resources for just one idea. No wonder so many millions of ideas are abandoned and become worthless. Probably one in a million are actually executed and succeed.
What are some good ideas that have been successful for you League? Please share them with us at lwv-membership@lists.lwv.org!