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What's the Weather got to do with it?

by Christine Robinson
Communications Associate 


          I started working at the Elks National Foundation in the midst of our busiest time of year, March. I remember that day specifically because it was freezing cold and Chicago was coming off a winter with record-breaking low temperatures.

           
In the Rotunda of the
Elks Veterans Memorial
My first role at the Foundation was in the Donor Services department. I started 21 days before the 2013-14 fiscal year donation deadline. Though I was new and only learning a small portion of what my entire role would entail, I could still sense the busyness in the air! The Donor Services department is like a well-oiled machine that works behind the scenes to make sure every single ENF supporter is credited for their donation. They work hard to ensure that supporters like you receive acknowledgment and recognition for your generosity. They update the per-capita, reports, etc., weekly to make sure that ENF Fundraising Chairs and ENF donors have the most up to date totals available to them on the Reports and Standings page. Matching Gift, Recurring Gift, Tribute Gift, MVS Named Scholarship Program, those are just a few of
the ways you can support the ENF, not to mention, a gift given in any format can be designated to the program you feel most passionately about. For example, I designate my recurring donation to the Community Investments Program—watch Donations at Work and learn what it means to designate a gift to a specific fund.

            Last March, during the close of the 2014-15 fiscal year, I had an entirely different understanding of just what it means to work here, and specifically what I imagined it was going to be like in the Donor Services department during another record-setting year end. I worked closely with the Communications department as they updated the acknowledgment letters for first-time donors—the letters are a testament to the Elks family and contain images of Elks and Elks scholars from across the country! As I was making my way through the close of another fiscal year, tracking down recognition pins that were accidentally delivered to the other side of Chicago, answering questions, and then…one day, in the middle of March, an opportunity to learn a different role became available.

            Though I thoroughly enjoyed my role in the Donor Services department, my true passion is communication. In fact one of my favorite parts of processing donations was speaking with Elks from across the country. While addressing questions from donors and ENF Fundraising Chairs, another topic of discussion was the weather. It’s no secret that I find the weather fascinating. I could talk to anyone about the weather and it just so happens, that I had the opportunity to speak with Elks across the country about the weather in Chicago and the locations they were calling from. I’m still trying to convince the CIP to start a grant program for weather education—they have yet to succumb to the [barometric] pressure. 

       After almost a year in Communications, I’m experiencing the busy season with an entirely different perspective. Combining my prior experience in Donor Services with my role in the Communications department—I’m able to share stories that you help us write with fellow Elks who are working to build stronger communities across the nation, just like you are doing in your own communities. I’m so thankful for my time in Donor Services because it allowed me to understand just how hard ENF Fundraising Chairs work to make sure that every donation they receive is properly recorded, making it easier for the Donor Services team to get the donations into our records with ease and efficiency.

           
Hoop Shoot Trading
Cards in Progress

 


Right now, the ENF Team is working on two big events, the 2016 Hoop Shoot National Finals are just around the corner and the MVS Leadership Weekend will be here before we know it. By the time we blink, summer will be in full swing and we’ll be in Houston, talking to Elkceptional people like you, sharing stories from the National Finals and Leadership Weekend.     
            The conditions are right during this busy season—the forecasters are predicting exciting new stories! With the direction of ENF Director Jim O’Kelley, these stories will be turned into films just as powerful as the Foundation Films produced in the past year. In the meantime, I want to leave you with a link to Lights, Camera, Passion! the 2014-15 Annual Report and remind you that just watching isn’t enough. Be sure to share with your friends, family and fellow Elks and help us tell the story.

            In addition to the above films, we have two films about the inaugural year of the Elks Scholar Service Trips watch Learn.Serve.Connect and The Oakland Scholar Service Trip. Another must-see film is One Last Stand. Watch it to meet seven veterans who were there recently but have now exited homelessness with help from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and community partners like the Elks.

            Even though the weather changes, these films will always be in-season! Comment below and tell us which Foundation Film is your favorite!

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