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Monday, November 7, 2011

Report Cards

I spent most of Sunday with my "little," Tanna. She told me when I picked her up that she had all kinds of make up work to do, because report cards were coming out in another week, and would need to be home quickly. We ended up spending seven hours together, but her panic over her pending grades was a reminder to me of my own work review coming up - I just passed the three year mark with OC - and all that I mean to accomplish before then.

I set several goals for myself a year ago when I transitioned into the role of Development Associate (or Development Cowgirl, as I like to refer to myself). I don't remember them all off the top of my head, but I know they included bimonthly e-mail blasts, which I don't do, setting and reaching fundraising goals, which I've set, but not reached and having grant drafts together and ready for feedback two weeks prior to submission deadlines, which I also don't do.

On Thursday I worked until around 2 o'clock, at which time I hopped in "the rig" and headed to Bend for a day of hiking meetings with Katie. We have these meetings about twice a year, a chance to get outside, where we both think most clearly, and talk about our goals and accomplishments where Opal Creek is concerned. For this meeting she chose Tumalo Falls as our destination, an easy 7 mile round trip hike with the most spectacular view at the end. As we walked and reflected on our triumphs and (many) failures over the past year, I was able to think through and articulate my feelings about this past year. We've accomplished so much, really. We hired for a position that enabled me the time and flexibility to devote 100% of my efforts toward fundraising. We haven't brought in more money than the year previous, but we've both benefited from not being so over-burdened. We've established, repaired or maintained relationships with several key foundations in Oregon, we've formulated an impact statement, we've identified major fundraising drives that will make next year's development efforts more compelling, we've established a strong development committee, who, although they sometimes make me want to pitch a full on temper tantrum, are knowledgeable and helpful, if not a little hyper-critical, we've begun a quantitative review process by which to gage the effectiveness of our programs and we've worked out the kinks in the day to day work - I have learned how to create a budget, I know how to schedule a conference call, I know the standard procedure for contacting program officers at foundations, I've established a comprehensive, interactive calendar that helps me stay on task, and slowly . . . I'm inching my way closer to that goal of having polished drafts together 14 days from their due date. I'm even scheduling self-appointed due dates 14 days prior to foundation deadlines!

One thing that struck me when reading The Happiness Project was how the author, at the end of her year of actively working toward being happier, noted that the area from which she got the most satisfaction was in the tracking of her progress. She made herself charts, not unlike the chore charts I had when I was a kid, that had each day of the month on one axis, the specific goals on the other. A check mark in any given square meant that for that day, that task was completed to her satisfaction. An x meant the opposite. At the end of the month, she gaged her success by the number of checks versus x. I think that without some similar point of reference, I'll not know how well I'm doing. But I don't think the checks and x system is fluid enough. So, with Tanna as my inspiration, I'm going to begin grading myself. I've made a spreadsheet. Days of the month on one axis, the specific goals on the other, and for each day I will give myself a grade from a scale of 1 - 100. I need to keep in mind that C is passing, that A is above average and that Opal Creek cannot afford me to be failing. At all. I was always a straight A student, so this is oddly incentivized, although I have no one to pat me on the back once I do this for a month.
Wrote this forever ago and never posted. I'll update on November soon! And then on to December!

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