Monday Musings by WKB, April 2, 2018
Dear colleagues and friends,
Happy day after Easter!
Last week was a short week that absolutely flew by.
I had a list a mile long of things to do on Friday, since it was a day away from the office. Instead of doing work, I dug a bunch of tall fescue out of my lawn. It may have been the very best therapy available for this very busy time of year. Now, let’s hope I got rid of most of that nasty stuff that has been driving me nuts each summer since we moved in to the house we live in now.
Yesterday, following a joyous celebration of Easter at St. Paul Lutheran Church, we made a quick trip with my mother in tow to Dunlap to spend the Easter meal with my sister and her family. It was a nice trip, although we drove in flurries for part of the dive. It was nice to be together as a family and we had a lovely meal. I hope everyone had a chance to relax a bit over the weekend.
At work this week there is much to do, including follow up from an important donor evaluation meeting last week, final preparation for two school counselor fly-ins scheduled later this month, financial aid and scholarship committee appeals, and preliminary preparation for the May Board of Trustees meeting.
At home things get even crazier with the start of spring soccer for Martha (13) and Ben (8). Soccer practices on Monday and Wednesday for one and Tuesday and Thursday for the other will add complications to the already full schedule that includes art classes and choir. Sophie (11) has taken a bit of time off from tennis, but I expect her to return soon to make it even more fun!
In short, this is a time of year that takes some pretty careful scheduling!
I hope you have a productive week.
A thought I can’t get out of my mind
In the last few weeks we’ve been doing some heavy duty planning related to bringing a fundraising campaign public in the fall of 2018. During these conversations we’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about what it means to be donor-centered throughout our campaign.
This implies that rather than focus on “the needs” of the college, we’d like to hear more about the dreams and ambitions of our donors and focus on how they’d like to make a difference in the future of the college.
I am really excited about being donor-centered and fundraising from a position of strength, rather than scarcity.
I am hopeful that being donor-centered will enable us to invite donors to help guide what the college does because of their generosity.
Being donor-centered will likely involve us asking donors very directly, why do you give to Augustana College? In fact, we may build some of our events and engagements around a signature way of asking this question and memorializing the answers.
All of this discussion, though, has made me think about how I would answer this question. I’ve started jotting an answer for each of the non-profits to which we give (Augustana College, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Gettysburg College and Elizabethtown College). I am not sure I have good answers yet, but I think I have a better sense than before.
Have you ever asked yourself this question?
How would you answer the question, why do you support XXXXXX?
Two things I think are worth reading (if you haven’t already done so)
6 ways to ‘win” at corporate culture, from the top ranked organizations—Another really good summary from EAB. I like this list of essential ingredients for a great culture (organizational or office). As leaders, we should use this a measuring stick for the type of culture we create and nurture. Here are the six things identified:
- Spell out your mission
- Hire with culture in mind
- Set a stellar example
- Empower, empower, empower
- Acknowledge your vulnerabilities
After you read the article, how would you grade yourself? Are there areas where you excel or could stand to improve? How about your office or division culture? How about your organization? How do you and your organization measure up?
While I think I do pretty well in most of these areas, I know there are a couple of areas in which I need to improve.
Financial aid appeals: Tools for admissions, financial aid and enrollment people to cope—This is a classic blogpost from my blog @bowtieadmission. I clearly wrote this when I was in the throws of endless financial aid and scholarship appeals (April 16, 2013)! This one is worth reading! This post includes a couple of visuals and props that I still have in my office. Enjoy.
Oh, also, there is some excellent advice within, in addition to the humor.
A question for you
I’ve been invited by Rivermont Collegiate to serve as their commencement speaker later this spring. I served on the Board of Trustees for the school for nine years and stepped off the Board last spring. I am flattered by the invitation, but I have no idea what to advise Rivermont’s graduate!
Jennie has offered quite a bit of advice already. Most of her recommendations begin with something along the lines of, “look what a modest high school student can achieve through some lucky breaks.”
If you were me, what would you tell the Class of 2018 from Rivermont Collegiate? Please email me your advice.
Something for you (and me) to think about
Last week I posted to Facebook a letter that I’d written to my parents while I was in college. It was short, but conveyed pertinent information. I also offered what I thought were a couple of clever observations about the letter. I took notice, though, when a FB friend amplified my observations to include something along the lines of “and, people still wrote letters.”
It was a great observation!
And, while I do try to write handwritten cards every now and then, I can’t tell you the last time I wrote and sent a letter to a friend. For that matter, I think the last letter, which was actually an email, I wrote was to one of my aunts several years ago.
In my father’s family, he and his two siblings were expected to write a letter home every week—there was also a letter from home to them. My dad used the worst carbon paper in the world—absolutely unreadable—to make duplicate of his letters. I suspect the weekly letter home was engrained in me—although I did not write weekly.
Just out of curiosity, are there people with whom you communicate via letter? Or, is your primary communication vehicle with friends and family Facebook and email?
Do you remember what it felt like to get a letter? Wasn’t it awesome!
It felt completely different from an email and far different from a FB post.
Is there anyone out there that you can make a deal with to try to correspond via letter? Are there people to whom you like to send a letter? Anyone interested in committing to sending someone a real letter once a month? I am thinking about it.
Is there something you’d like me to muse upon?
If you are curious about a topic or would like some musings about something in particular, please let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. If you know of someone who you think I should add to my distribution list, please let me know and I will gladly add anyone who might benefit (or have mild interest) to the list. I try to get one of these out every Monday. Past issues of my musings can be found at my blog @bowtieadmission