Two board members who actually made the effort to show up remarked that our breakfast event was so professional. I’m not sure how to take that. Is it a compliment? Or commentary on past events?
The slide show set a great tone. Colorful little infographs on our various programs stood proudly in front of overpriced kosher bagel and fruit plates. The video was great. Although the table hosts invited relatively few actual donor potentials, I was able to round up enough bodies and the room was filled to capacity. The food was good. I even refrained from snarling and plastered a smile on my face as I added more chairs for all the non RSVP people who showed up with a +1.
I wrote 3 scripts for 3 people, all of whom loved the text and vowed to deliver. “It’s better than anything I could come up with” said one and “just tell me what you want me to say” said the other. This is what I want you to say. In 4 minutes. Just like we practiced.
Something happens when you put a mike in someone’s hand. It’s like all bets are off. I’m hearing stories. I’m hearing jokes. Jokes? People are supposed to be moved to tears and guided through the pledge card, not entertained and told to fill out a form. One step forward, two steps backward.
My interim month as executive director has come to an end. Some petty stuff to settle like mileage policy (okayed flexibility to googling exact mileage as opposed to the generic chart of approximate miles) and deferred bigger issues (impending removal of 4 poor performers in one program area) to new ED. Who has arrived! Very nice but a little deer in the headlights. Results on job prospects–looking elsewhere for a good fit and a place that can pay me full time, but no rush. Finishing video (which is killer makes me well up every time), details, and scripts on our upcoming breakfast fundraiser. Big push getting the board on board that fundraising is an important part of being on a board. That I am even having this conversation is astounding to me. I don’t get it. What do people think is expected of them when joining a board?
In the 20’s, Hemingway won a bet that he couldn’t write a story in 6 words. He declared “For sale: baby shoes, never worn” his finest work. Students First found a winner for its contest to describe a great teacher. I voted for this one. Also from the runners up– “All 30 students raised their hands” was among my favorites.
A direct mail solicitation that is almost done has gotten longer and longer as everyone added a little something. It is now two pages but lots of white space. I caved on my idea of a non letter format making finding an alternative to Dear Friends a must. I did, however, put my foot down and declared there will be no string of PS, PPS’s at the end, like I couldn’t figure out how to end the thing.
As my distress of too many words reached a frenzy, my daughter sent me a TED talk on the subject. Apparently, I am in good company.
|warm & fuzzy at its best|
The first call to action in the Benevon model is a “sizzling Point of Entry” to quote Benevon founder, Terry Axelrod. Ours is. So I hear. Warm & fuzzy. And fruitful. We’ve gotten spontaneous donations, gifts in kind from our wishlist, offers to do fundraisers for specific programs of interest, and much needed volunteers. Did 2 back to back in different towns today with the ED. Both pretty well attended. 2 board members attended. And brought guests! Huge breakthrough. Showed video clips of interviews I shot. Kind of raw and effective. So what’s the problem? I hate public speaking. I get nervous. The doorbells rings and I lose my place. I’ve been too busy to properly rehearse and I feel like a mess. I know it’s not as bad as I think because the feedback on the event is great. But I hate it. I’m hoping it gets better.