Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Ohio Wesleyan Annual Fund

Testing, testing, one, two, three

Monday, November 27, 2006


Special gifts, major gifts, BIG gifts

Ohio Wesleyan is interviewing candidates for the position of Director of Major Gifts. I hate the title. I also hated the title when it was Director of Special Giving. Looking through the Chronicle of Philanthropy makes me think other people struggle with what to call someone who seeks "significant" gifts (and I think it means $25,000 or more). American Farmland Trust is looking for a Director of Major Gifts, the New York Botanical Garden is seeking a Director of Individual Giving as is the Culinary Institute of America. All gifts are special, but not all gifts are major, and even fewer are really BIG. Imagine being on the receiving end of a call requesting a visit from the Director of Major Gifts...

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Try a 14 pt. period to add "girth"

Do you know that if you use a 14 pt. period throughout a term paper, it has the potential to add pages to the document? Imagine what this means to those who struggle to fulfill page or word quotas?

This gem comes from a student who writes a lot of papers. It is not his discovery; nonetheless, I think he should be honored for this creative and useful brainstorm.

It comes too late for me, but it may help my children...and countless others who have something to say but not the required girth to complete the task.

There is no direct correlation to Annual Giving. Although, I will say, if you add zeros to a gift, it often amplifies the impact. Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


The Blogger is a Goner

Jason Thompson, architect of OWU's Annual Giving Web site and chief blogger (with a real following), has left the staff for a new position. Please submit your ideas on how to craft the job description as we work to replace him. And, Jason, if you read this, add your own ideas--good luck as you tackle new challenges at OSU.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Story of the Year

Last weekend was the OWU Board of Trustees meeting and most of them came in on Thursday and Friday. As staff, we go to the committee meetings and run around doing whatever the Trustees need. At 4:15 on Friday, one of the Trustees came to our office saying that she needed a jump as her battery was dead. She had left the lights on in her rental car because on all of her cars, the lights were automatic. I had already messed up about 75 times earlier in the day, but I knew how to jump a battery, so I didn't think that it would be an issue. My boss (otherwise known as Captain Annual Fund) and I took my boss's van to the Trustee's car and started the whole car-jumping process.

My mind was anywhere but on what I was doing, and I hooked the cables to the dead battery (grounding the negative clamp to the frame) prior to the live battery. This is not what you do because, according to my ca-knowing friend, "You never go up river" or something like that. As I was paddling "up river" by hooking up the live battery after the dead one, the Trustee was standing by her car while I was over at the van. When I clamped the cables to the live battery, but there were sparks, which is generally what happens during a jump. She asked me "Is it supposed to spark like that?" To which I answered "Yes" while not paying attention to her car.

"Is it supposed to smoke like that?" she asked. I was getting annoyed because of course it was going to smoke a little from the sparks. At this point, I looked to my left towards her car. That when I saw black smoke billowing out of her engine. I stood straight up and saw a flame. Her car was on fire.

I had lit her car on fire.

On fire.

A feeling of overwhelming panic welled up inside of me as I pictured her car exploding, then blowing up the car next it, and the one next to it, etc. as we were in a full parking lot. But I also knew that I had to save face and not show concern, as this was a Trustee of the University where I worked. So I nonchalantly walked over to her car, which was on fire, and mumbled "Don't worry, I grew up in the country. We do this all of the time," (which made absolutely no sense, but I thought something needed to be said), thinking that I can't show any concern of blowing up the city of Delaware due to a mistake I made while jumping a car. I looked into the engine and saw that the negative clamp and the area in which I grounded it to was the source of the flame, which I thought was weird. I didn't think metal caught on fire easily, but that was a moot point now.

I had lit her car on fire.

I grabbed the clamp that was on fire, burning my hand in the process, but avoiding the Great Delaware Fire of '06. Then I mentioned that the area in which I grounded the clamp, which I darn well knew was metal, "must have been rubber or something like that because metal doesn't usually catch on fire." I was trying to save face. The Trustee then touched the area that was previously on fire and now blackened to see if it was metal and proceeded to burn her finger, confirming that it was indeed metal.

As I went to hook up the negative clamp to the battery, I held my breath because I wasn't sure what would happen. I figured the battery would explode, spraying acid in my face, disfiguring me horribly, and then blow up all of the cars in the parking lot- but I was not about to lose face. None of that happened, but it was a tense second.

As I walked back to my boss's car, about ready to vomit, my boss asked me if I had hurt my hand. I said no, and then I whispered if she could tell I was nervous. She said "no," so I knew I was all right. Both cars started and everything was fine, but it was an omen that I should have not gone out last weekend.

Friday, September 29, 2006


Raffle What!?!?!, Part Deux

I know I've beaten this to do death in the past couple of weeks, but the "W" Association Dream Tickets drawing is officially open. If you buy a ticket, you and a loved one (I volunteer myself) go to Glendale, AZ to watch the Buckeyes play so poor schmuck team for their second National Championship in four years. You get a two-night stay and car rental. Plus, I'll even wear my AJ Hawk jersey when you take me with you. Only 200 tickets are being offered. The proceeds benefit the OWU Athletic Department.

Let's review: for $100, you get a chance to watch the Bucks win the National Championship, do whatever people do in Arizona for two nights (I hear there are many lizards and cacti there), and get to hang out with me (when you take me). That's not just win-win, that's win-win-win.

The website for this dream vacation is http://teamowu.owu.edu/bcs.

I'm still looking for that one person to buy all 200 tickets at one time.

Marketing News
I found out this week that Ohio Wesleyan is the midst of a branding movement. This means trademarking the Bishop and other stuff like that. For example, you won't see the Bishop leaning on just the "W" anymore:

Instead, he will be leaning on the "OWU." (In a moment of irony, I could not find a picture of the Bishop leaning on an "OWU").

Personally, I like the "W" more, but then again, I'm just the Assistant Director of Annual Giving and sometimes I can't tell black from dark green (as my co-workers will attest), so my opinion is nothing. I do think we should trademark his frown and get rid of the Smiling Bishop (see last week's blog). Also, from now on, when I use the word Bishop®, I will be using a registered trademark symbol (the circle with a "R" in it).

What brought this on? Well, a couple of weeks ago at the football game, an entrepreneurial student had made shirts of the Bishop® in a jock strap that said "Ohio Wesleyan Athletic Supporter" on the back. I'm not going to say anything except that I would like one of those shirts, but only for an example of what not to do.

In related news, I will be trademarking Floyd, The Annual Fund Garden Gnome later this week. Don't even think about using him anywhere without paying me.

On Tuesday night, in between my econ and stats classes, I went to buy a Coke® when I looked in the food vending machine and I saw a candy bar-sized Bit-O-Honey®. I couldn't believe my eyes- I hadn't had a Bit-O-Honey® since I was, like, 6 and I remembered loving them. I have absolutely no idea what they're made from, but I remembered they were great. And they were never the size of a candy bar; no, they were small morsels of manna from Heaven.

I bought this giant Bit-O-Honey® (later- as in Thursday- I realized that thing has probably been in that vending machine for approximately 5 years. I doubt Bit-O-Honeys® go bad) and tore into it. I had forgotten how chewy they were and how impossible it was to get the wrapper off of them; no matter what, when you eat a Bit-O-Honey®, you eat some paper, too, because it is impossible to get all of the paper off (just like it is impossible to eat Cap'n Crunch® without cutting the roof of your mouth). Because of the sheer size of this gigantic Bit-O-Honey, it took me the entire class time to finish it and I kept interrupting the class with my battle to get each portion out of the wrapper.

After I was finished with my 5 pound treat, I felt sick to my stomach for a couple of days. I think eating a Bit-O-Honey® is like swallowing gum- I won't be able to digest it for 7 years. But it was worth it.

Oh, was it worth it.

And Finally
Because it is Friday and this blog was late, I will give all of a special treat: a picture of me. I'm sure all of you are wondering who is Wordsmith that writes the Best Annual Fund Blog® ever. Well, here you go. This picture was snapped a couple of Fridays ago when I was leaving from work a little early- I may be hard to see because I am camouflaged as a tree (in my off time, I moonlight as a Ninja®).

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


A Smiling What...!?!

Ohio Wesleyan's football team is 0-3 following a close game against Bethany this past weekend. On the season, OWU has lost those three games by a combined 22 points, or 7.3 points per game. All the losses have been to non-conference foes, meaning that the Battling Bishops can still make good on the preseason prediction of finishing at least second in the conference. I know the team and the coaches are doing everything possible to figure out how to turn this ship around, and they will.

Don't worry, fans- I know what the problem is and it has nothing to do with the coaching, players, or facilities. No, Battling Bishop fans, the problem lies in the revamped Bishop. This year, in order to stop scaring small children when taking part in the Delaware Fourth of July Parade, OWU introduced a new family-friendly Bishop. As you will see in the picture below (the Bishop is flanked by Mark Shipps '70 and John Kercher '63), the new Bishop comes complete with red hair, big blue eyes, and a smile.

Yes, that's right. A smile.

Now, this is just my humble opinion, but the new Battling Bishop does not intimidate me. In fact, I do not see him stomping on an ant, let alone running a linebacker over on the 1 yardline for a score. The word "Battling" is not drawn from this sweet, sensible-looking character my mom would like.

Now the old Bishop (see below), he would take a magnifying glass and burn ants, laughing with glee. He would take the new Bishop's lunch money and then steal his bike. The old Bishop would shed a double team from two 300 lbs. offensive linemen to blow up the running back for a 6 yard loss. He was angry, he was impatient, he wanted to win. And there was no smile. No, there was a scowl.

It's a little known fact that teams with smiling, happy-looking mascots never win championships in football or baseball. Take, for example, the Cleveland Indians. Many people blame the trade of Rocky Colavito in 1968 for the Tribe's bad luck when in reality it is Chief Wahoo's fault. The innocent wide-open eyes, the big smile. All of this says "Hey guys, we don't mind losing. Want to come to my house for some cookies after the game?"

You never see the Florida State Seminole smiling. He looks like he could kill somone.

Nor the little Notre Dame guy. He looks ready for a drunken brawl.

Mount Union doesn't even have a mascot, and they win all of the time (8 national championships and the longest winning streak in NCAA history). Do you think they would have won all of those games with a smiling, happy-go-lucky Purple Raider? I think not.

A case could be made for a smile as long as the eye brows are furled; that way, the smile looks sarcastic or, at the very least, saying "Bring it." But not a full-blown, eyes-wide-open smile.

"But Jason," you may be thinking, "I have you. What about Brutus Buckeye and the 2002 OSU National Championship?" The one exception could be Brutus; but let's not forget that he is a giant poisonous nut with a body that can stand on his head and do push-ups. That is ridiculous. There was a buckeye tree at my elementary school growing up, and no buckeye I ever saw did anything like that. Occasionally I would throw them at girls I liked, but that was my actions, not the buckeye's.

Bring back the old Bishop. Do it for OWU. He's worth a good 7 points a game. Denison will not be intimidated by the Smiling Bishop; neither will Wabash, Wooster or any other NCAC opponent. We need to scare the opponents and if we scare some kids on July 4 along the way, so be it- it's all in the name of winning an NCAC championship. Besides, being scared builds character. That is what my dad always told me.

Don't forget Team OWU (that is my Annual Fund tie-in for this blog).

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