Archive | March, 2013

5 questions when choosing your new “Pope”

19 Mar

How do you choose your new leader?

How do you choose your new leader?


The Catholic world is happy that they have chosen a new Pope.  I wonder what qualities and skills were needed to make the short list. I think it would be fun to see the logistics involved in the setup, lobbying, the voting and the re-voting to decide the new leader.

The historical happenings last week got me thinking about how a walkathon should go about choosing their new leader. If I were asked to help decide on a new Walk Manager, I would look for these 5 things:

1.  Do they give good phone?

A Walk Manager should be comfortable picking up the phone and cultivating a relationship with a potential sponsor, or team leader. Remember, your Walk Manager should be your #1 recruiter and lead by example.

2.  Have they ever managed volunteers and/or a staff?

Producing a successful walk requires the help of many people.  People that are volunteering their time and talent, and people who get a paycheck from you.  The Walk Manager is one leg under a large table, and they must be able to balance their role and the roles of the other people they depend on to get a job done.  Interpersonal skills are important.  A Dictatorship will not work.

3.  How do they say ‘no’?

Being the Walk Manager makes you a target for everyone trying to get a piece of your real estate on walk day. Lots of calls will come in with opportunities for sharing in the profits of items sold from a table at your event. Fantastic causes will want to bring their clipboards to get signatures for their worthy cause. You will have several hundred to several thousand people in one place at one time, and it is a guerilla marketing opportunity.  Your new Walk Manager will need to pleasantly refuse these wonderful opportunities and not be easily intimidated.

4.  When was the last time they got dirty at work?

There is no place for a Princess at a walk.  See above about leading by example.  If boxes need to be unloaded from a truck, then they should carry the first and last box.  If a 24-ft truck needs to be moved, then they should not be afraid to get behind the wheel.  I prefer a Walk Manager that is well-rounded and is not afraid to do the less glamourous things to get the job done.

5.  How do they say ‘thank you’?

If you want people to work for you, you need to keep them happy and motivated.  I need to hear about examples of how this candidate has thanked their volunteers or staff in the past.  I like to hear about creative things that do not cost allotta money.  If you have worked for me before, then you have some good stories to tell.  Ahhh, memories…

Hiring managers all have different things they look for looking for the perfect candidate.  I like having a conversation and then go with my gut to determine who I think will work out.  What do you look for?  Leave me a comment!


How do you let everyone know about new staff hires?

How do you let everyone know about new staff hires?


Looking for Leatherman

12 Mar

Best friend for an Event Manager

Best friend for an Event Manager


I just read the good news that the TSA is going to allow certain kinds of knives back on planes.  Unfortunately, the states of Michigan and Massachusetts are not playing, since it is still a felony to do so.

A few years ago, the TSA took away my Mini Leatherman.  I was a random flag at security and my bag was searched. The agent was so proud that she came upon my 2.5-inch Mini Leatherman that she created a freak show around me. A crowd of agents surrounded me and held it up in the air to make an example of me and my 2.5-inch Mini Leatherman.  I must have made their day.  Thankfully, an unimpressed gentleman behind me must have felt my pain because he walked by sarcastically exclaiming “WWWWWOW”.

You see, I am an Fundraising Events Consultant and I was traveling to do some good, charitable work.  I need my Mini Leatherman to cut duct tape, snip electrical ties (also known as concert cuffs – a story for another time), pull staples out of wood, pluck a stray eyebrow hair, open locked porta-pottie doors etc…

I realize it was only $26 but it was really petite and a perfect size to carry in my purse and pocket.  I miss it and want it back.

When I was given the choice to go back and check the leatherman in my luggage, I couldn’t, since I was carrying-on.  Then I was given the choice to leave the security line and go mail the piece back home.  WTF?  I did not notice any USPS kiosks in our Terminal.   So, I was resigned to turning over my beloved Mini Leatherman to be included in the TSA-Holiday-Party-Yankee-Swap-of-Confiscated-Items.  Mutha Fucka.   I was told that they destroy all confiscated items.  Riiiiiight.  I felt naked and vulnerable without it. It was my wooby.

I loved the Mini so much that I bought one for all my staff one year as a holiday gift.  I learned to love the versatility of the Leatherman when my Dear Boss David at the Walk for Hunger (Wok FaHunga if you live in Boston) gave me one.  It was a long time ago and I still have it.

Everyday Essential

Everyday Essential


So now, I ask the TSA peeps:  Let’s get everyone on the same page so us event folk can carry our Mini Leathermans onto planes so we can be prepared for our next adventure.  Puhleez!

One last thing.  I was pleased to read that the TSA is relaxing the rules for small bats. Not for me, but for the passengers at the Louisville Airport that got their mini Louisville Slugger bat taken away. I was shocked to see that they actually displayed a large cylinder full of these bats at the beginning of the security line.  Perhaps the Louisville Slugger store inside the Louisville airport should have had a USPS kiosk just outside.  Ugh.


Sequestration Constipation

5 Mar



cutting the budget

cutting the budget


What happens when you have a budget sequestration that causes constipation?  Your money gets backed-up in the pipeline.

All of this nonsense I have been reading about a sequestration made me think about the possibility of having a walkathon budget cut. What happens when you are told that you still need to have a walk, and you need to do it for less money?  You have a goal to raise a certain amount of money  – money that researchers, survivors and staff are depending on.  What to do?

Ideally, most walkathons have expenses of less that 20%.  Trimming money will be hard.  Where do you cut the walkathon budget?  I would start with the three largest budget items. Budget Busters – The three P’s:

Postage, Police and Printing.  Here’s how:


Hopefully you have had a meeting with your local Postmaster, so you can make sure that you are mailing at the least expensive rate.  There is also a company called Postal Advocate that can audit your postage expenses and make sure your are being efficient.


If you are having your walk on City property, you may be stuck with City Police as your only route and site security options.  You may also want to check if the County Sheriff’s department offers security detail for less money.  If your event is on park property, you may be able to have Park Rangers be your route security – for ALOT less money.  Some Park Rangers do not pack heat, and you need the heat around the Registration Tent and Banking areas.


T-shirts are a huge money-suck on an event.  My feeling is that if you are giving a shirt away for free, then it should be short sleeve white with a one-color imprint on one side.  If you are selling t-shirts, then order less and sell out early.  Cost-cutting options are to buy short sleeve instead of long sleeve.  Two color imprint instead of four.  One-side imprint only. 

Same idea with printing collateral.  Use black and blue instead of four color.  Put a screen on the black and blue in some areas to make them lighter so it looks like you have four colors.  Ask your printer about using less expensive paper.  Maybe there is a less expensive standard size that you can adjust your artwork to fit.  Your graphic designer can help.

It is frustrating to be told to do the same for less.  Budget cuts are no fun, but it is a good exercise to see where you can offer the same services for less money.  I doubt anyone would notice if any of the above suggesstions were actually used.  If they do, you can tell them that sequestration frustration made you do it, and you would rather see the money raised go toward the mission.


who knew?

who knew?