We are planning a breakfast. Or more succinctly, I am planning a breakfast. The board seems to have rallied around finding a new ED. A flurry of emails. Lots of meetings. Committees. Pre-meeting meetings. Our biggest fundraiser is a couple of months away and let’s just say I have concerns. However, in the hierarchy of frustration is my inability to get Hal on the phone. Apparently, Hal is the solution. We are a Jewish agency and any meals served must be kosher. Of course, around here kosher caterers come at a premium. I am not up on my kashrut but I know enough to know that getting a rabbi to oversee a $35 bagel on a plate is meshugana. Hal, the “big boss” of Bubba’s, reportedly the only place for a perfect bagel with a schmear, the centerpiece of any Jewish breakfast event, prefers to deal in fax. As in he gets them and doesn’t respond. I want one 20 minute conversation to work out what we want, how much, and a phone number in case it doesn’t show up. Apparently, Hal is the only one who can to make it happen. I may have to resort to recruiting the former board president, a Bubba’s regular. I would rather seek his assistance in a more monetarily productive way, not to mention he picked me to be the interim ED. I can run the organization, really I can, but please help me get bagels–now there’s a confidence builder.
The exiting ED and I visited a local real estate developer and his CFO, both of whom bring their 3 exceptionally large dogs to work with them. The youngest is a 4 month old Great Dane puppy, We went to ask for a Leadership gift to kick off our yet to be named multi-year giving society. I heard it was a bit of a 3 ring circus. As the puppy tried to engage the other two, the older was not amused and let the pup know. The third felt left out and grabbed the pup’s prize toy and took off to the other side of the room. Lots of under the table, around the chairs. I have 3 of my own, terriers, dogs you can pick up and move if they are in the way. The scent must have been irresistible. I was trying to stay focused while being sniffed all over. Just as I got to the good part, “would you consider. . .” the phone rings and he’s totally distracted.
My boss who had clearly had this very experience before, tapped the table which got his attention and quickly picked up where I left off. We got the gift. I quickly joined the tag team effort to jump in with our making the announcement and would he fill a table to witness the big event. The dogs were bored with us and the meeting was over. At the elevator, his CFO confirmed that he would make sure calls to fill the table would be made as well as a check delivered for this year’s pledge.
Just when you think things are going well! Our Executive Director announces she is moving on to greener pastures. I can’t say I blame her. Despite all her achievements, its an uphill battle.
But we are now minus one visible, visionary leader, a real downer in terms of marketing.
I’m 5 months into an organization with so many holes to plug that prioritizing has become now, urgent, and emergency. And I work part time!
To laugh, I have been offered the position of interim Executive Director until the board can find a replacement. I’m good, but that’s pretty desperate. Now let’s talk board–I have been to 5 board meetings. There are too many board members I’ve never met and a handful I’ve seen once. Enticing!
On the other hand, tuition is a mighty powerful persuader.
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.