Monthly Archives: March 2013

Lunch Bunch

thumb_I_LOVE_LUNCHFor some reason, when I think of work on Sundays, my thoughts often drift to food. I love food! But sometimes I’m not inspired to brown bag it, and I end up spending way more than someone on a smallish nonprofit salary should. The strange part is that there is so much great stuff out there that is easy to pack, and can keep me well-nourished and at my best at work as well.

Why eat lunch? You, as a development worker, should be a well-oiled, relationship-building, fundraising, donor-thanking, data-riffic machine. What you put in your body, and when, has a lot to do with it. Though I have to motivate myself to eat healthy on occasion, I always find that I feel better when I eat healthy, small meals or snacks and drink lots of water.

My best lunches have usually included a few (or more) of the following:

  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Something salty
  • Something sweet
  • Whole grains (rice, quinoa, wheat bread)
  • Yogurt
  • Soup
  • Crackers
  • Dried fruits

I’m not really a homemade lettuce salad person (they always look better in the recipe photo than on my plate), but I do love bean and pasta salads. I also like to pack leftovers from dinner for lunch.

That said, I am not the most imaginative about lunch, and sometimes it gets boring. So here are some bright ideas for great workaday lunches:

What’s your favorite workplace lunch?


The Golden Goulash: March 30, 2013

chfA short collection of the most interesting articles and features that found their way across my desk this week. I’ll be collecting these gems and posting them every Saturday. If you find any articles that rocked your world this week, let me know on my Contact Page and I’ll add them to the next Golden Goulash!

Click Here for This Week’s Helping.

Funny Friday: The Fab (Facial Hair) Four

I had the occasion to catch CBS This Morning on a recent trip (yeah, I’m not usually up that early haha). One of their features was on Henry Grossman, who has released a new book of previously unreleased photos that he took during his time with The Beatles. (Interested? It’s got a $400+ price tag). They showed several of his images, and watching the Fab Four grow up and grow facial hair was a lot of fun.

So today’s Funny Friday is a scientific (um, not really) infographic about The Beatles facial hair through the years by artist Mozzarella Poppy. Enjoy!


Field Trip: Palace Theater, Manchester, NH

palace with arrow

Photo courtesy LHAT website, with my additions.

Once in a while, I get to crawl out of the depths of my theater and my city and take a trip to see how the other half lives. Recently, on a trip to New Hampshire to visit family, I was treated to a trip to see the opening night of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Manchester’s historic Palace Theatre, located at 80 Hanover Street.

This was quite the treat for me. I had been in attendance at the San Diego conference in 2012 where the Palace from the Outstanding Historic Theater award from the League of Historic American Theatres (a great professional organization, by the way); I had been jonesing to see it ever since. Relatedly, being able to watch a show, that I don’t have to do anything for, incognito, so to speak, is always delightful. No (or at least, less) stress, no professional cringing at technical issues, no worries about overly long concession lines, no need to address bathroom backups. None of the myriad “emergencies” that present themselves when dramatic people, and the people who love them, get together for a show.I was in working-vacation heaven.


The lovely LHAT statuette, designed by EverGreene Architectural Arts.

There is a lot to like about the Palace. The Will Call line was fast-moving and efficiently clerked, the lobbies were spacious and allowed for a free flow of traffic. They had a rather nice piece of donor wall-art, created with different-sized plates indicating donor levels. Other sponsors were alternated on the curtain before the show and listed in the program, some with topical and attractive program ads. The brochures and flyers that were available were attractively designed. Once inside the theater, the number of seats and size of the auditorium gave a cozy feel that lends itself well to seeing live theater. Our seats were in the third row, house left, and were well-spaced and comfortable. The complimentary beverage, and pre-orders taken by a friendly server, were a nice touch and made us feel special. They also saved us from standing in line at intermission! Certain tickets carry these perks.

The show was very well done. The performers were enthusiastic, energetic and talented, and the cast was peppered with some great dancers and singers, including a very young break dancer! The band of brothers were very funny and stole the show, and the audience enjoyed it thoroughly.

It was nice, as always, to see such a lovely historic space nestled comfortably into a thriving downtown area, and the Palace was located on a street with lighted trees and storefront shops. I would definitely visit again in the future. Kudos to everyone at the Palace—keep up the good work!

I’d love to hear about your travels to other venues and organizations. Feel free to contact me or share them below!

10 Tips: Spring Cleaning for the Development Office

Clean all the development things

Thanks, of course, to the founder of this meme feast, Hyperbole and a Half.

I love Spring. Aside from the fact that New York Winters last longer than the other seasons f(or at least it seems that way), Spring gives us an excuse for a fresh start. It also gives us a fab impetus for cleaning up our offices, both literally and figuratively. Here are 10 ideas for Spring Cleaning, Development Style:

  1. Review your donor management software, and eliminate and merge any duplicates that you find.
  2. Freshen up your conventional donor thank-you ideas. Usually send a letter? Send a picture postcard instead, or make a phone call. Make a list of new ideas that you can use to say thank-you.
  3. If you’re fortunate enough to work with a staff, hold a meeting with them to talk about new initiatives for the development department.
  4. Sort and weed out your stacks of fundraising periodicals. Tired of paper pile-ups? Many development publications, including FundRaising Success, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, and AFP’s Advancing Philanthropy, are available in digital editions.
  5. Review your donor files and clean out any outdated materials or information that is no longer useful.
  6. Assess what is working and what isn’t with your current systems. Are there training modules you could order from your software providers, or could you lay to rest a “fundraising program” that isn’t cutting the muster and hasn’t been for years? The best systems and events are those that help you reach your goals.
  7. Add a few new decorative items to your office space. Photos of family and friends, pieces of artwork that you like, or motivational quotes are all good additions. If you ask nicely, you might even get permission to paint your office or get a new area rug or office chair.
  8. Take a day to physically clean your space if you don’t do it regularly. Studies have shown that keyboards, desks and phones can be some of the germiest spaces in your office!
  9. How is your filing system working for you? Do you avoid filing items because you dread losing them? An ideal filing system should enable you to file something in less than 30 seconds and retrieve it in less than a minute. There are lots of tips out there for building a great filing system. This tip is time-intensive, but very worth it in the long run.
  10. Spring-clean your self-talk. Feeling discouraged over the grey expanse of winter? Give yourself a pep talk. You’re doing good work for a good cause. Your passion inspires others, and the great part is that you can continue to improve if you choose to!

Do you have any “spring cleaning” development tips?

Webinars: March 28-April 18, 2013

webinarsI love a good webinar, and there are a ton of them out there! For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, they are seminars on a variety of topics, offered over the internet, usually with an expert speaker and a visual presentation. They’re great training for people with limited training budgets who want to know more about a particular development topic; many of them are offered for a nominal fee, and some are even free! I’ll be posting a list of them weekly; if you’re interested, follow the link for more information and to register. See my Webinars page for an ongoing listing. (NOTE: Membership may be required to access webinars.)

Click here for this week’s listing.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

teamwork2In planning our capital project at the theatre where I work, we are entering new territory. The variety of programs that we are planning, and the spaces in which we will be able to do them, will be multiplying by the time the project is finished.

As arts organizations, we are mission-driven to provide artistic and cultural experiences to our patrons, and often to the community at large, regardless of their age, income level or other factors. Chances are, unless you live in a very tiny town, there are other organizations that are obligated to better the lives of their community as well.

The great part about all of this enrichment and quality of life improvement is that it gives us many opportunities to collaborate. For example, some of the programs that we will be adding are music education and lessons, school programming, independent cinema, and a student theatrical program. Because this is our first foray, as administrators, into this territory, it could potentially be a mountain of work and coordination, and it might take us years to get it right.

Very fortunately for us, there are people in our community who already do these things on a smaller or piecemeal scale. A local teacher who schedules and gives piano lessons is working with us on our music education program. A group of teacher center directors is helping us to determine the best way to introduce programming into our schools. Another organization in our area who does a small amount of independent cinema wants to partner with us to promote their brand and serve a neighboring community. Our student theatrical program will be directed by a woman who has worked with various groups of young people in the areas of acting, creative movement and performance.

There is no need for us to reinvent the wheel, and learn from scratch skills and aptitudes that others have spent many years developing. Make a list of your ideas, and ask yourself who can help. If you are starting a new initiative, chances are that there is someone in your community that could lend advice, expertise or experience to your efforts. The time that you spend seeking them out will be a great investment in your future. Working together not only makes your projects more fundable, but it keeps you from duplicating services and splitting your audience with a more established program at another venue.

Have you had good experiences partnering with others in your community? Feel free to share them with us!

Magic Monday: Productive Procrastination

No limits to what you can accomplish“Magic Monday” posts help you start the week off right. Monday is a great day to review and regroup; if you set your mind to it, you can make this your best week yet. Thank gosh it’s Monday!

Ugh! In recovering from a road trip this weekend (I slept twelve hours straight once I got home), I owe you two blog posts, one for today and one for yesterday. However, I think one of the best skills that we can do as development professionals is to acknowledge that we messed up, don’t dwell on it, and get right to work making this better again. So I will be bringing you the extra post later this week. In the meantime, it’s Magic Monday!

So I’m back in the saddle today, and looking at my to-do list. Because my mental capacity is a little sub-par, I am inclined to do the easy, no-brainer stuff. (I am a natural “productive procrastinator.”) Once in a while this is great—when it’s the end of a day when you’ve been using your noodle non-stop; when you’ve accomplished a lot but have a short period at the end of the day before you leave the office; or when you legitimately don’t have a lot of brainpower left, maybe just before lunch or after a grueling training.

You can really hobble yourself, though, if you’re using the best part of your day to do menial activities. When your brain is fresh and agile, the most efficient use for it is the knowledge work that moves things forward in a strategic way.

Here’s a great article about this very thing from Next Action Associates. It may help you recognize the difference, and what you can do about it. Enjoy!

Too busy? Maybe you’re procrastinating.

The Golden Goulash: March 23, 2013

chfA short collection of the most interesting articles and features that found their way across my desk this week. I’ll be collecting these gems and posting them every Saturday. If you find any articles that rocked your world this week, let me know on my Contact Page and I’ll add them to the next Golden Goulash!

Click Here for This Week’s Helping.

Funny Friday: Presidential Ham

So this is the late edition, as I almost forgot to be funny today. I’ve been on the road all day and now I’m settling in for the evening (night?).

Anyway, Presidential Ham. Learn a little history while enjoying the sheer ridiculousness of Presidential portraits featuring, well, ham.


Franklin Pierce, 14th President and fellow Pierce.