Reflections About Learn-A-Thon 2011 (Part 6)

by Patrick Liew on December 11, 2011

They say the devil is in the details. It is the finer touch that can make a difference in your life.

I relearned this lesson during Learn-A-Thon 2011, a fund-raising project for victims of the floods.

I have to confess that when I initiated Learn-A-Thon 2011, I thought to myself, “If we get 14 first-class experts to teach participants how to be rich and wealthy, we have done our part. It will be a tremendous blessing to them.”

I was wrong again.

We have to fight Murphy Law. We have to ensure anything that can go wrong WILL NEVER go wrong.

At every turn and corner, our team of highly dedicated and capable committee members had to fight to put out fires – that sometimes came out of nowhere.

It will be interesting to share some of our experiences with you.

My heart dropped a few times when we were looking at the licensing aspects of running a fund-raising event. In our quest to be creative, we were concerned if all our ideas can be covered by the existing license.

Our registration was going well until we decided to move to a much bigger venue. Then, it slowed down for two days – and there were no plausible reasons for it.

I almost started to imagine 14 well known speakers – some having to fly in from overseas – speaking to a group of people spread over different parts of a large theatre.

Some speakers were so busy. They were almost uncontactable. What if they miss the plane? Worst, forgot to show up?

We have to sieve through and reject many interesting ideas – otherwise it would become an overnight-affair. There were also small but important considerations, like how to keep participants entertained before the start of the seminar.

Our speakers gave highly attractive offers for their courses and other services – and every cent of the proceeds would be donated to help the victims of the floods. However, they could only provide limited offers.

How do we handle participants crowding around our volunteers? What if there was a stampede?

As we were increasing the seating capacity by more than 300%, we suddenly found ourselves needing more human resources. Just for the reception and ushering alone, we needed more than 70 people – and it was not easy to find volunteers within a short period of time.

In order to exercise responsibility and transparency, we came out with what we thought was a cost-effective idea for the donation cans – until we had to cut a hole on top of the cans. We could not find a contractor to do it. Finally, we found some friends to do it. If you have seen the photos, you would know that it was an ingenious process.

We wanted to set a National Record. We had scary moments trying to arrange for a record-breaking feat.

You could imagine the trouble we had to go through – simply because it was an entry into the Singapore Book of Records.

Then, there were out-of-the-box initiatives. Take for example, how do we bring out hearts of love?

How do we share our care and concern for people who are suffering in the floods?

I could go on.

You had to experience for yourself what our volunteers-driven committee had done. Remember, every one of us has a full-time job. We have turned an idea miraculously into a reality.

Suffice to say, we have worked through many details. We have put our heads together to visualize the Learn-A-Thon 2011 experience.

As I reflected on the project, I realized we could have done better. There were many areas that were not effectively covered.

A powerful learning lesson I took away from this project was that I need to be disciplined to look into every detail. I need to take a vigorous approach to make it an even greater success.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Please go to ‘Notes’ found below my profile picture.

Visit my Inspiration blog at

Visit my Transformation blog at

Please read them and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!



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