Mastering the Art of Professional Dating

My Little Black Book

My Little Black Book

In case you missed my Lunch and Learn at JVS in which I opined about the art of professional dating, I wanted to share a few of the FAQs.  You may be wondering what my credentials are here – after all, I haven’t been on a date with anyone but my husband in almost ten years.  However, I am happily employed after a quick job search after other happy employment.  My networking pursuits have made me a “regular” at three coffee shops.  I got skills.

Conventional wisdom tells us that the best opportunities will come from the outer realm of your network.  It makes sense if you think about it.  You know most of the same people as your co-workers and close friends, and you will find out about the same opportunities.  The good leads come from someone who moves in different circles.  So, when you lock eyes with someone across the room at a workshop, or a LinkedIn profile catches your eye, here are some tips on how to get the coffee on the calendar. Continue reading

New Year’s Resolution, Round 2

writingLast year my professional resolution was to volunteer or attend 12 fundraising events in an effort to overcome my events burnout.  I am happy to report that I was successful, and that a new job has given me a new outlook.

This year I am resolving to improve my handwriting.  At its best, my writing is legible.  At its worst, it would be mistaken for that of a 6 year old.  As a fundraiser I firmly believe in the power of the (hand)written word.  I address envelopes and postcards whenever it is practical.  I send tickets with handwritten invitations.  I write a note on pretty much everything I can. And yet, practice has not made perfect.

I recognize that my handwriting, in this context, is a reflection of who I am, the quality of my work, and the brand of my organization.  When people flip through their mail and see an envelope I addressed I want them to think “hmm, looks fancy, I wonder what this is” – not, “oh my God it’s a ransom note!”

And so, very soon, I will be taking a calligraphy workshop and selecting my professional script.  While it will certainly take time to make the new style flow, I am committed to shaping up and I will share my progress along the way.

My Life as a Muggle

This year, my husband and I decided to be more strategic about our charitable giving.  I’m surprised that it took this long, as we are people who love lists and a good chart.  And so we have our goal amount for total giving, a handful of organizations we know we will support, and then a wildcard pot for the things that just come up.

As we go through this together, it has become clear to me that he thinks like a donor and I think like a fundraiser who gave a gift.  As a relatively new/young fundraiser, sometimes I recklessly bend the rules and sometimes I go Grumpy Cat at the mere suggestion of a non-standard letter format.  I have realized that, in going through this process, it would be best to not over-analyze every single letter and email we receive, but to just allow my natural reactions to lead the decision making.

Today I was excited to come across the  Giving with Purpose course.  So, one hour a week for six weeks, I am just going to be a regular person learning how to better invest in my community.

As they say in the Church business, “That’ll preach!”

Wow.  Dan Pallotta basically sums up every thought I have had in the last week as I: A. spent a day problem-solving with MBA students at BU’s Link Day a few days after sitting on a nonprofit career panel in which an MBA student voiced an assumption that there is not a place for her in the nonprofit sector, B. launched a search for an entry-level position with an entry-level nonprofit salary, and C. began work on a $250,000 project proposal that won’t cover overhead.  Excuse my run-on sentence, but if this was a revival I would have stood on my chair and shouted AMEN at least 5 times. This is a must-watch for anyone who believes that nonprofit staff deserve rewarding salaries, fundraising and marketing are necessary investments, and overhead is a fact of life. Of course, you will be the proverbial choir to which he is preaching, but you will be left with a sense of affirmation and some well articulated arguments.

Storytelling for Optimal Impact

I have been slowly making my way through Robin Hood Marketing: Stealing Corporate Savvy to Sell Just Causes. it’s been a slow read because I have spent a lot of time digesting the content and looking for parallels in my work. I am happy to say that today was the first day that I applied something from this book and felt like I hit the nail on the head.

One of the themes that pops up throughout the book is the idea that we cannot create messaging that assumes our audience cares about our mission as much as we do. I will admit that I made that mistake in my work at ZUMIX. I fully understand how music shapes self identity and builds community because I experienced it. So, everyone would totally connect with this great organization if they saw a really great video of a youth ensemble rehearsal, right? I was messaging the mission with the assumption that people would love it, if only they knew, because everyone loves music. Thus, I was ignoring people who love youth development, technology, sports, food – all the people who aren’t like me.

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12 Events in 12 Months

My New Year’s traditions involve falling asleep by 11pm and eating obscene amounts of pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s day. They do not include resolutions. But, this year, with a new job to kick off the new year, I have made a professional resolution.

I am desperately trying to get over a near-fatal case of fundraising event burnout. The events leading up to my diagnosis will fill many other posts. The important topic for today is how I intend to remedy the situation.

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