Happy Anniversary

Should have killed me

Dear Job,

It’s been an exhausting and often rewarding 6 (8? 20?) years. I know we’ve had disagreements, and I’ve gotten mad at you a lot, but here’s to the future and to accomplishing what we hope to accomplish together. I kinda love you, you know.

As ever, Kylie.

So sometime around today is my 6th anniversary at my job. I’d say time flies when you’re having fun, and truth be told, parts of it have been fun. There have also been grueling, discouraging times and growing pains. But I doubt I would trade it for anything.

Wouldn’t you love to keep reading? Please do.

Magic Monday: Stop Multitasking

“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!

I am the world’s worst multi-tasker. Some days I can’t even walk the 10 feet from my assistant’s office to the time clock without getting distracted. I am very guilty of trying to do too much, in which case everything I am trying to accomplish suffers. Studies have shown that multitasking isn’t worth it for most people. If you have trouble single-tasking, here’s a short video that may help. The difficult part may be focusing on the video without trying to do something else at the same time!

Have any of you largely eliminated multitasking from your work day? Have you noticed a difference?

10 Tips: Dress for Development Success

yellow jacket polka dot skirt

Classy and stylish work outfit. Thanks to thimble be quick for the image. Check out the rest of the outfits on their page (sorry guys, just ladies on this one).

I can remember distinctly the handful of epiphanies that I’ve had in my career that have made a true difference in the way that I do my work and flex my development muscles. At the risk of sounding shallow, one of those was definitely the idea that what you wear, and how you carry yourself, can make you instantly seem more competent and better equipped for success.

People, whether we like it or not, base a lot of their impressions of us on first impressions and appearances. Though it may not actually be the case, donors and colleagues look at a well-put-together development professional as more competent and more talented than their less stylish counterparts. (And yes, I’ve known a lot of super-lazy dandies that don’t fit this description, but, as the proverb says, perception is reality.)

For the arts professionals who read this blog, we’re fortunate in the sense that we have more freedom to assert our personal style in a professional environment than, say, our human services or political counterparts. Our orgs are creative by nature, and creativity is often encouraged amongst staff. Our own employee dress code (which I crafted, not completely disharmoniously, from that of a hair salon), states “All dress will project an image of fashion, professionalism and good taste.” (Today, for example, I am wearing a grey 3/4-sleeve jacket with a white button-down shirt, a long marcasite pendant necklace, and a grey knit muted leopard-print skirt with nude hose and patent snakeskin pumps. Not too over-the-top, but not too conservative either.)

You don’t need to pay a personal stylist or personal shopper to give you advice (though there are many reasonably priced ones out there). Much of what you need to know you can learn from books and websites. All it takes is practice, and a few friends or colleagues that will be honest with you. Enlist their help, and explain what you want to accomplish.

I could write about this topic all day (interview dress, the 10-point system, business casual, etc.), but instead I thought I would offer 10 Tips (and Links) to help you get started on your own professional-dressing odyssey. I’ve tried to provide a mix of guy, girl and unisex tips, but feel free to add your own in the comments section!

Wouldn’t you love to keep reading? Please do.

The Golden Goulash: April 6, 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: Nap Time

So what have we learned today, class? That Kylie can be super great at writing blog posts in advance, but is not so good at scheduling them! So today, as you may have noticed, is a twofer: onefer yesterday and onefer today. Thanks for indulging my crazies.

Maybe it just means that I need a nap. Fortunately, I found a great post on Mashable, originally published at The Jane Dough with a fab infographic (from The Daily Infographic; be still my heart) about the benefits—and trivia—of naps and napping. It also makes a case for businesses offering nap rooms to their employees. (Though, until it is condoned, I wouldn’t jump right into the idea.) Enjoy.

Click here for the super-long infographic!

Major Donor Love

Dollar-Tree-300x213When I talk to people who are new to the profession, they often want to know the same thing. “I work in a small shop,” they say. “Which activities will give me the most bang for my buck, no pun intended?” I am paraphrasing, but this discussion is definitely the #1 topic that I run across. And my answer is always the same: court your major donors.

When I first started, I wouldn’t have believed it were true. I wanted to get as many people excited about our cause as possible (which is important). I also wanted to create systems that were easy to maintain and monitor (also important). I wanted to design newsletters (keeping people informed is important) and hold (eek) special events (I won’t go there). I wanted to write grants (also helpful and important). But one thing I didn’t want to do was talk to major donors. I was afraid of them, didn’t feel that I had an rapport with them, and was scared to death of messing up, so I filled my time with other important—but not necessarily as important—activities.

Wouldn’t you love to keep reading? Please do.

Webinars: April 4-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.

Getting Your Mojo Back

lucky-mojo-coming-soonNo matter how much you love your job in the nonprofit sector (or any other sector, for that matter), you’re bound to have one of those days/weeks/months that your mama warned you about. From my vantage point, it sometimes feels like development directors carry the weight of a nonprofit on their shoulders like proverbial atlases. No funds = no programs = no service to the community. Oftentimes, that can also = low self-esteem, feelings of guilt, and added stress.

I stopped into the office on Easter Sunday with Art, to feed our resident cat and check on the theater. I sort of sighed inwardly, looking at the empty street and thinking that downtown seems pretty dead when we have nothing going on at the Capitol. On our way there, I had decided that I would take the opportunity to take some progress photos of some work being done in some of our newly-purchased buildings. My mind let out a kind of moan about working on my off hours, not having anyone to delegate photo-taking to, having too much on my plate already, etc. In an attempt to silence the negative voices in my head, I loaded the camera with new batteries, and strolled down front to see how Art was doing in his rounds.

Wouldn’t you love to continue reading? Please do.

Magic Monday: Jumping Paper Clip

“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!

Magic Monday is usually about productivity, but some days you need a little fun in your life. Sometimes a little controlled goofing can make you more productive, as long as you do it in moderation. Looking for something fun to share with your team or your coworkers? Check out this video from Expert Village on your break, and give it a try next time you have the supplies handy. Literally Monday Magic!

I’ll be back next week with some real get-it-done wisdom!

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?