New stuff

So I moved into a new apartment this weekend and when I returned to work today, discovered a new(er) computer on my desk.

I can tell it's faster already, but I'm having some technology issues with e-mail.

More updates later.


Title Change, or what I'm doing after VISTA

One month from today will be my first day as a non-VISTA.

It will also be the day my job title changes from AmeriCorps*VISTA member/Resource Development Associate (which is a bear to type, by the way) to Director of Advancement for Starfish Initiative.

Other than the title changing (and the addition of a paycheck so I can earn real cashy money ), not a whole lot else will be different on Thursday, Oct. 23 compared to Wednesday, Oct. 22.

The job I've been doing as a VISTA for the last 11 months will be much the same as what I do as the Director of Advancement. I will still write grants; still fund-raise, still do newsletters.

I had no idea when I started this year that this would be what I would be doing a year later, full-time. I thought I was interested in development/advancement. While I was pretty unhappy with where I was before VISTA (too far from home, frustrations with trying to get involved in the community, long/terrible hours), I wasn't really sure if I would be able to get the "ink" out of my blood. (There are days when I miss journalism terribly, but not enough to go back full-time.)

So, I'm going to keep going with this fund raising thing as a career.

It's been a good year.


New Total


$20,000 more just came in with another grant award.

I may only have another month left, but with the pending applications, I'm still hopeful I'll hit a minimum of $250,000 raised this year, if not $500,000 (there's that much money on the table yet that this could happen...)


My service really is almost over

Today I got an e-mail of forms and things I need to do to process my education award and finish out my VISTA term.

I know it's a month away, but getting this paperwork makes it really official that I'm almost done with my year of service.


Five Weeks

I'm down to five weeks left of my VISTA service.

I cannot believe I'm that close to the end. This has been quite the year.

I'm hoping to have time to reflect more on this year in the coming weeks, but for right now, all I can say is that I'm far busier at this point in my service than I was back at the beginning.


End of a Task

I'm done with the donor records!

WHEW! I feel like I need a victory lap for being done with this job.

Let me back up and explain.

This spring, we got an online donor database system. Only when we ported our data over, it didn't translate well.

For the past, well, months now, I've been going through our donor records making sure all the gifts and donations and pledges were all entered correctly. The database system allows for quite a few complicated queries and reports to be generated, but without the data in right, the queries don't work. Fixing the records meant going through hundreds of paper files, making sure that what was in the database matched the paper trail. Sometimes they were perfect... other times, not so much.

So -- talk about a big sustainability leave-behind. Having the donor data in order is huge. It's especially important that it's done now as we approach our next fundraiser in a month. A month from today. Oh, gasp. (I could have another post here freaking out about how much work is left to get this sucker ready, but I'm going to refrain. And breathe deeply...)

Now that all the data is in the database, I need to go back to watching online training modules to learn how to use all the nifty features available to me.

Still, I'm celebrating getting done with this part of the job!



Seven weeks from today will be my last day as a VISTA.

Who knew a year would go so fast? My schedule is jam-packed for these next seven weeks as well, so I'm sure the end will go by in a rush as well.

Since I'm coming up on the end of my service, I'm working on my sustainability report and plans. This is a big part of VISTA, making sure the work done over the past year can be carried out by the organization when the VISTA leaves.

Doing this sustainability report is a huge look back at everything I've done over the last year. I spent time this afternoon updating a spreadsheet of deadlines for interim and final grant reports and when we can reapply for funding. Back when I started my service I was constantly updating this spreadsheet, but sometime around March I lost track of it in the press of everything else. When I went to look for the file this afternoon, I couldn't even remember where I'd saved it... or what some of my notes meant.

So I started a new file and will work to update it more over the next few days.

I've also got a section in the report about the newsletter I do, including production schedules for the next year.

There's more I want to put in this report, and I'm guessing there will be some long evenings to get everything on my VISTA workplan accomplished before the end of my service.

But the end is in sight!

VISTA Service Ticker