But that’s why you’re here, right, to hear all about me and what I perceive to be brilliant and devastating in my most recent 24 hours of breathing in and out? Of course it is.
So today I have a couple of brilliant things, and will follow up with a list of the things I love about Baltimore, Maryland. For your reading pleasure…
I’ve been attending sessions at the International Conference of the Association of Fundraising Professionals this week, and have truly enjoyed myself. Sometimes conferences can be hit or miss, with some sessions that sound ground-shaking in the description proving to be real losers. It’s a testament to the great people putting this one together that I’ve actually enjoyed and gotten something out of all but one. And that one SHOULD have been better. The presenter had amazing credentials, just wasn’t terribly engaging, and didn’t give very many real-world examples of her subject that could go home with me.
Let me take a moment to say that Archbishop Desmond Tutu is an amazing and inspiring human being. And he’s got a great sense of humor as well. Definitely adding him to my “Dream Dinner Party Guests” list.
These conferences can also serve to make one feel pretty stupid, or at least ignorant. So far that hasn’t happened, and today I had a couple of moments come along my path that actually made me feel good about the career I’ve chosen and my ability to do it well.
I was feeling kind of bummed about the fact that the folks I knew were not able to join me for lunch, so I was going to just get some fried clams and head back to my hotel for a little break. While I was waiting for the golden strips of goodness to come out of the oil, a woman sitting in the same take-out spot asked if I wanted to join her. She was also attending the conference. So I thought “yes, I will be sociable and perhaps make a great contact.” So I sat down and we started chatting about the sessions and our organizations.
She works for a very large group that manages senior centers from rehab to end of life support. Her office is located in DC, but I believe they have facilities all over the region. As we talked she mentioned that she’s not sure how to engage younger donors. They have a program that brings kids into the facilities – small children give performances, older kids volunteer – but nothing that takes advantage of those relationships to turn them into donors or even just use their interest in the facility more effectively. So, I suggested that she form an advisory group made up of those students who she felt showed the most interest. Ask them what THEY would suggest to get the younger people in the community interested in what they’re doing. I told her about Street Teams, and how if they had a similar group for their organization, they would have a great resource for getting the word out about their community-wide events and special needs.
The second moment came up after the end of a session wherein I served as a host for the speaker. I was waiting for her to finish talking to the handful of people who had stayed to visit with her after she spoke, and one of the women talking to her asked about the idea of sending a cd of a video presentation to their sponsors to engage them in what they do. She wondered if the sponsors would even watch the presentation. The speaker suggested that it be hand-delivered – which was a great idea. (hands-on-personal always goes far with donors of any kind) But I also suggested that if she’s not sure they’d take the time to put the cd in their computer to watch, she should upload it to YouTube and send it to them as a link in an email. WAY easier to access in the mind of a busy professional. The woman was like “Oh! I love that idea, I’m going to go write it down right now!” I just now had the thought that they should also show the video at a Sponsor Reception sometime during the year… but I didn’t think of that then…
So, two people today that I ran into as a result of something I kind of had to do (I don’t remember volunteering for the host spot – but I did it anyway) and both of them reaffirmed to me, unbeknownst to them, that I am good at my job. At least, I do have the ideas it takes to do my job. Detail orientation is not my strong point, but I am trying to work on that. The IDEAS are there though!!!
Things I Love About Baltimore
Salty Sea Air at the Inner Harbor
Pirates (and Pirate Day!)
Happy People – I have had more Service Professionals greet me with a smile here more than ANYWHERE else I’ve visited!
And More Sea Air
It’s definitely well-named Charm City – I’m charmed and can’t wait to bring my family back for vacation.