I have grown to acknowledge, embrace and celebrate, that some of the best, most beautiful experiences of my life, happen at Target and Jewel-Osco. To be more accurate, I find endless pleasure in people, places and things. I also happen to spend a great deal of time at Target and Jewel.
Lately, I’ve been extra depleted physically, mentally and emotionally. This is not a complaint, but is provided as a frame of reference for the possible drivel I’m about to write.
While in this diminished state, I considered writing 100 things I love about my Mother, but the truth is, 100 isn’t nearly enough. I have way more than 100 things I love about my amazing Mom.
Instead, I thought I’d fantasize about 100 Mother’s Day gifts and/or events I’d absolutely love. Some are real, and some are imagined. Most are imagined, but I hope they’re real someday. Continue reading “The Mother Load”
For the love of driving a mission. PLAN. LISTEN. BREATHE. SING.
With an abundance of vim and vigor, I work in the nonprofit sector. As with much of my life, I tend to think in choreography, musical theatre and improv comedy sketches. No matter how long I’ve been out of the performing arts professionally, I still have an artist’s brain with an obsession for the implementation of logical and accessible systems. I am grateful for both sides of my brain.
I have known for more than a decade that the nonprofit sector is exactly where I belong. Whenever my Dad mentions, “Hey Honey, you can always go the corporate route again,” I smile, and sometimes, I even nod.
I thrived in the for profit sector for a few decades. I was so lucky to travel the world, earn a terrific living, engage with lovely people (mostly), and learn a great deal about a host of industries that have since changed dramatically. Growing up (hungry) in the performing arts for much of my life was helpful to my flourishing in the for profit sector. With a starving artist mentality, (because I wanted to be skinny, not because I didn’t have food), I showed up to each gig, grateful for the job, interested in learning, and excited to be around so much innovation. What sorely lacked for me while working in the corporate world, was the feeling that I wasn’t really doing enough to help humankind. The mere thought of collaborating with other like-minded people to move a nonprofit mission and organization forward, to make this world better, often led and STILL leads to thoughts of West Side Story and other musicals I’ve performed in and/or loved:
When I’m in a meeting with executive leadership, or with a colleague who needs to feel more valued, or with a disappointed donor, or when I choose to eat humble pie, because I KNOW it’s what’s best for the collective good, it always helps to recall and celebrate my musical theatre roots.
When I entered (head/heart first), into the nonprofit world, I was immediately inspired:
Truth be told, the music fromLes Miserables often plays in my head. Much to my dismay, I never performed in that show, but I was called back a bunch of times for Broadway and the National Tour. My singing wasn’t good enough, and I always knew that. I think I might have had nine callbacks, so I guess I didn’t completely suck. P.S. I guarantee that my Mom, Lois Klier, absolutely knows the exact amount of callbacks and what I wore at each one.
So, while I was undeniably inspired by nonprofit work, I made a shocking discovery:
nonprofits sometimes forget that they’re a business.
In the nonprofits I’ve had the honor of working for, as staff, as a consultant, and as a member of the board of directors, I have noticed a trend:
So many meetings, and meetings that are usually not well-organized and that last way too long
Poor planning or no planning with reactive rather than proactive actions. Passion for a mission is not enough. Planning is key
Too much reliance on gadgets and gizmos to help learn more about the organization’s donors and donor prospects. The best prospect research tool I’ve ever located, is having a conversation with the prospect, and doing more listening than talking. The relationship evolves from there
Too much work on staff members’ plates, but in actuality, prioritization is usually out of whack because systems have never been put into place
Enormous dependence on fundraising events with no plan for donor retention, post event.
Weak marketing – lack of clarity or connective tissue between the organizational mission and its marketing and communications materials
Not spending enough time on strengthening the case for support
Not celebrating victories. Even small milestones are worthy of a two-minute party. The mission and workload will still be there when you’re done. Praise the collaborative effort, praise your colleagues and leadership.
Inserting too much pressure on the Board of Directors and lay leadership for fundraising – THIS is not great cultivation and stewardship if your donor is uncomfortable doing something. It’s the staff’s job to craft a fundraising strategy that works well for the organization. Where do gracious volunteers want to go? What excites them? Have them do that. Support them and develop leaders
More than all I have listed above, nearly all of the nonprofits I have been involved with attract the very best, kindest and most talented human beings on the face of the Earth. It serves a nonprofit very well to raise already extraordinary people up, so that the organization has the strength to do what it’s there to do. Elevating people is at the heart of every mission I have ever seen, pondered or worked to move forward
Today, I don’t have to tell you that there is a great deal of fear, worry, anger and shock that is practically suffocating us. While I am not immune to the current climate, I have forced myself to implement a system of boundaries that help keep me free to do what I must do in order to make this world better.
I do fear really well, I just choose not to.
While wallets may tighten and nonprofit tax benefits might change, it doesn’t alter the fact that important nonprofit missions have to be carried out. I would argue, NOW MORE THAN EVER BEFORE.
And while I’m a pragmatist, I might also be a secret optimist. I do believe:
While the Jets and the Sharks in West Side Story, hated and sought to harm each other, they never really knew each other in the first place. Heartbreaking tragedy struck and that’s what it took for communities to come together. Tony and Maria were more evolved than their peers because they led with love. I choose to lead with love, especially within a storm of chaos.
And from the very first show that bit me in the tush, I urge anyone, even in such challenging times, to think:
And l’chaim to a nonprofit’s life, and its organizational sustainability. Breathe, listen, pay attention, and please plan the exact moves (ahead of time), on how you’re going to safely get down from the roof without breaking your fiddle, and when you get down, you must already know how you will implement a system of collaboration for the entire community of Anatevka. You are a matchmaker. Make matches for your donors and the organization you work for or serve.
I have faith in you, and in human beings all over the globe. Happy Valentine’s Day.
I almost hate to put the anniversary of 9/11/01 beside National Recovery Month, but everything seems to connect somehow to that fateful day, getting real and honest about the impact of it, and getting real and honest about how we cope or can’t cope is what connects us to recovery.
Today, in the year 2001, everything changed. I can only speak for me, but as inherently fearful and geared toward sadness as I was before 9/11, the volume of my fear and sadness resounded at a higher decibel and with more frequency.
It still does, but I work very hard to locate a peaceful and serene volume and that happens almost solely by working with and helping others.
As I’ve been attempting to have a really good cry that never seems to come, I have started thinking about love, which almost immediately brought me to thinking about lust and the confusion (and periodic pain) lust, (ifone or more individual expects love), almost invariably causes.
Let me be clear. Lust is a lot of fun and I enjoy it as much as anyone possibly can. It has its place, but I believe it’s best performed under a very short term contract that both (or all) participants understand and agree upon. As long as little or no return on investment is expected, I highly recommend going with lust for a gig or two. Continue reading “Love’s Litmus Test: As Lust Passes, it Fails the Test.”
DISCLAIMER: If you are my Dad, or maybe even my Mom, or someone who doesn’t want to read something you will likely consider risqué, STOP READING! It is not my intention to shock, alienate or embarrass anyone. My intention is to put it out there to all readers or anyone who will listen, that being a woman with an intense and thriving sex drive and especially post-trauma, is not only extremely healthy, but is to be embraced and celebrated. For some of us, we go through incomprehensible shit storms that we may believe cause damage (NOT PERMANENT) and battle scars. (BATTLE SCARS ARE PRETTY HOT.) For someone who finds inner peace and especially inner and outer sexual peace, well… who needs to be quiet about that? Not me.
Please… let’s stop feeling victimized and ashamed, period.
If you think you wish to read on, first, take this subliminal test: