The Bow

When I was a senior in high school I worked at Barry’s Montville Pharmacy.  It was my first “real” job outside of being a camp counselor.  And it was a big deal because A) they only hired “pretty” girls (hello 17 year old ego) and B) it marked the first year I did not participate in the fall play, thus had nothing to do after school.

Barry’s was not just a pharmacy, although handing over prescriptions and ringing up cold meds was a huge part of my shifts.  The coolest part about my job was that they also sold the BEST gifts in town.  Whatever was new and popular, they had it – along with an amazing gift wrapping station.  With every bow, filler, custom boxes… and every type of wrap you could imagine.

But why?  Why would they spend extra capital on such a silly thing?  Why not just sell gift wrap and let customers do it themselves?  

Because that special touch changed the way customers and gift recipients saw their purchases.  No longer was it just the latest willow tree angel or precious moments figure.  Someone was getting something special.  And they knew it came from Barry’s.

What on earth does that have to do with fundraising and data?  

I argue that the bows I lovingly (and sometimes excessively) put on packages in high school translate over to the final touches we put on data or a report.  Thinking about not only the information, but the way all of those numbers and vital statistics will be perceived by board members, staff, and constituents changes the way we share.

Think back to one moment to the last time you presented an update on your fundraising progress.  I know you knew your numbers and your why and your goals and where you were going next.  But did whomever you were sharing with really understand and comprehend what you were passing along?

65% of people are visual learners, which means how we present data really does make a difference.  It’s one more step, one more thing to do before a board meeting or big conversation, but what if that final step really helped increase understanding.

What if we presented our progress like this…

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Instead of like this?

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Does it change what you see?

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