by Beth Boney Jenkins
So I’ve been doing a bit of spring cleaning in my office . . . and I can already hear the whoops of laughter from my co-workers as I write this.
“Spring cleaning?! Is THAT what you call it? That stuff’s been in there since the millennium.”
“The entire building feels lighter.”
“There’s a DESK in there, for gosh sakes!”
Okay, maybe it’s been a while. But wait, I can explain: it’s not that I love piles of paper. My perfect Zen is a world of clean lines and uncluttered space. It’s just that in my end of this wonderful biz, things don’t often proceed along predictable channels. The prospective donor from five years ago is still “thinking” about opening that new fund. The new nonprofit fund requires ongoing hand-holding throughout its endowment campaign. The current donor remembers a question he meant to ask from that initial meeting -- six years ago. Didn’t you keep those notes on the luncheon napkin?
The ideas gleaned from a long-ago conference are suddenly newly relevant. Thank heavens the conference notebook is still on the shelf. The age-old marketing materials no doubt need archiving, but a long-forgotten phrase may be worth resurrecting for this year’s campaign.
In short, pieces of paper are just so much more: they are ideas, relationships, plans, history. Treasures! You begin to see my problem.
Is this a grand apologia for clutter? Gee, I hope not. But as a dear colleague once observed, this isn’t always a simple task-oriented business. You can’t just file your relationships and plans tidily away in the database.
Oh, dear, I’m beginning to miss those stacks of paper I ruthlessly tossed away last week. Should I raid the recycling bin? I just know there were unplumbed possibilities in there…