Tuesday, March 28, 2006


For the Love of Doughnuts


After glancing over the past two submissions, I noticed that it may seem like I have an obsession with green bean casserole. Nothing could be further from the truth, as I have a severe hatred of green beans. If anything, I suffer from an acute case of Chlorositiolachanophobia, or the fear of eating green vegetables. It's very rare. In fact, I am the only known case in the entire world. I was forced to self-diagnose myself through the Internet and combining three fears together* because no doctor was able to do so and the OWU medical insurance would not cover further study.

In reality, I find the combination of the words "Green" + "Bean" + "Casserole" very funny. I will try not to use a reference to green bean casserole in this blog again for a long while.

On to more important things...

I think doughnuts are one of God's most perfect foods. You can't help but feel happy when you eat one. Try to be sad when you are eating a doughnut- you can't.

I grew up in Amish Country, Ohio; otherwise known as Holmes County**; the home of the original Baby Swiss cheese and the World's Largest Cuckoo clock.

This will all come together right... now:

In between shooting my friends with BB guns and attempting to run over lumps of road apples (horse dung for the lay person) in the middle of the road on my bike while growing up, I would take the 25-minute trek to my Dad's house in Wooster. We would grocery shop at Buehler's Grocery Store. There he would buy cream sticks from the bakery. I would plop down in front of the TV and watch the Smurfs (until I was banned from watching them because my mom heard they were Satanic- but that is neither here nor there), eating a cream stick.

Fast forward to yesterday- March 27, 2006- and lo and behold, in my boss's office, there sat Donald and Shirley Buehler '55. They own Buehler's, hence the name. I've got to be honest; I was a little star struck. Seriously- I love these people's doughnuts that much***. Up until yesterday, the name "Buehler's" was always just a name of a store, like Charles Schwab or Kenneth Cole. I forget that these "brands" were/are also real people. And these particular people are responsible for unbelievable doughnuts as well as providing all of my nutritional needs at my father's house growing up.

OWU has great alumni- this is just one example of how, since I began working at Wesleyan, that I have seen how graduates from this school have influenced my life. Bob DiBiasio '77, the Vice President of Public Relations for the Cleveland Indians, is the reason I chose public relations as my major while at Otterbein (please refrain from asking me whether my diploma is real or not- I work at a college, I've heard it all). Yet another is Norman Vincent Peale '20, whose many books have given my mom something to say to me about staying positive even when I don't want to hear anything like that.

In short, thanks to everyone from OWU who has helped me in my life, from learning the joy of sugar to my future career.

That was a weak ending...

* Lachanophobia- fear of vegetables; Sitophobia or Sitiophobia- fear of eating or food; Chlorophobia- fear of the color green.

** This is one way of knowing someone is from a truly rural area- when they state where they are from they say a county instead of a town or city.

*** The reason that I feel that Buehler's cream sticks are by far superior to that of other places is simple: cream-filled pastries from other doughnut vendors use either too much sugar or not enough sugar. An instance of either of these scenarios creates an inferior product; whereas Buehler's has created a more perfect union of both sweet and bitter. It is an art form on par with that of Van Gogh, Beethoven, and Dickens.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Anything Yields to Success

My sister makes wallets out of books. Yes, you read that correctly. My sister does indeed make wallets out of books. How does one go about making a wallet out of a book? Why would you make a wallet out of a book? What inspired this action? I don't know the answers to those questions. I don't even know how to sew a button on a shirt, let alone make a wallet out of literature. What I can tell you is that there are some very trendy stores that are now selling these wallets in the Los Angeles/West Hollywood metro area for a lot of money.

(sidenote: Another natural question to ask would be: "If you knew that you were going to make wallets out of books, why did you spend thousands of dollars attending The Ohio State University?" I asked my sister this very question and received an answer that can't be written in this blog due to some choice and colorful language.)

Astronomers have found a nebula near the center of the Milky Way that is shaped like a strand of DNA. Most nebulae (I hate when words in a plural form don't end in "s". I don't know why- it just kind of irks me) are in random blob shapes, much like my pottery projects turned out in 7th grade art class. This one, however, has a distinct shape. It's pretty amazing, especially considering that it is so close to the gigantic Black Hole-thing in the middle of the galaxy, sucking everything around it into another dimension or whatever Black Holes do.

"Jason, where are you going with this? I mean, sure, I like wallets and nebulae as much as the next person, but why would I want to read about this on an Annual Fund blog?" you might be thinking to yourself. This is why I like OWU- such active thinkers.

I submit the following paragraphs to you as an example that there is always something new, be it in products or science or Barry Bond's system (c'mon, you can't actually think he got to be that big by just lifting weights. I've been lifting weights for three years and have lost weight). Therein lies my point: there has to be something new that can be done for fundraising- be it in mailing, visiting, calling, e-solicitations, everything. I am on a quest to discover this new innovation.

If this quest leads me to dressing like a narcoleptic chicken on personal visits to get you to support the Annual Fund, so be it. If I have to create a direct mail piece featuring a green bean casserole, I will. I'm sure that when (if) I do come up with an innovation, I will stumble upon by mistake, just like Christopher Columbus mistakenly found America (although I hope I don't spend my last days in a Portuguese prison, up to my eyeballs in debt, and an embarrassment to my country). I will NOT cheer for the Cincinnati Bengals or Reds, though- everyone has their limits.

No matter what I do come up with, it will be in a public forum for all of you to see. If nothing else, it has to be better than Crystal Clear Pepsi or "Joey." I mean, c'mon. Just put a camera in my office. It would be more entertaining than that.

The Blog has a New Look

If you've been a valued reader (and I know there has be a couple of you out there. Maybe?), you'll notice that the blog actually looks like the rest of the website. After months and months of sweat and procrastination (99% the later), I updated the blog coding with the coding from the website. I felt that the uniformity might make this blog seem more legitimate. Something needs to; the writing sure isn't.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Know Thyself

I am a fundraiser.

This is a fact that took me awhile to be able to admit. In grade school, I wanted to be an astronaut or an archeologist. In high school, I wished to be a general manager of a professional sports team. In college, well, I didn't worry too much about it. That is until I realized in April of my senior year that I probably could not have a career as "Fraternity President." The lack of responsibility and bills was going to end extremely soon and I should probably attempt to grow up and get a job. Reality hits hard.

One thing I did not want to be was a fundraiser. It isn't cool. You can't talk about it with your friends. Say the words "LYBUNT" or "Five-Year Pledge" to someone and watch their reaction. Seriously, try it. It's really amusing. The title of "fundraiser" is not something that one aspires to attain while growing up.

Astronaut? Yes.

Fighter Pilot? Yup.

Third baseman for the Indians? Absolutely.

Assistant Director of Annual Giving? Nope.

It can be a lonely position. When I introduce myself to people and begin to chat, they inevitably ask what I do for a living or they look at my name badge (at OWU events) and see "Assistant Director of Annual Giving." Then one of two events occur:

1. they immediately excuse themselves and walk away, whispering to the people they pass that the "Money Guy" is coming,
2. or they say "you're not going to ask me for money, are you?" with a nervous laugh.

In some cases, I could probably say that I have a bad case of SARS and receive a warmer reception. At least then I'll receive pity. I have even used my chosen profession to my advantage to get out of conversations:

Stranger: "...and that is how I make a green bean casserole. Let me tell you about my method for cross-stitching..."

Me: "I work in Annual Giving."

Stranger: "Excuse me, I need to be going."

Despite myself, I have grown to love my job, my profession, and the nonprofit industry. The people I have met and the connections that I have made in my first five years will stay with me forever. I am always surprised and uplifted by the generosity of giving, no matter the level. I like the push toward reaching a goal. I enjoy meeting people and helping them to realize their love of philanthropy.

I also enjoy the free food that I procure from events.

Our OWU volunteers have had the same experiences as I when they call on their classmates. Some people immediately give, some hang up, some become defensive, some avoid the subject like the Black Plague. But that doesn't stop our volunteers. They know what they do is important. As any OWU volunteer will attest, a donor is not a client or a means to an end. A donor is a friend that has the same goals that I have for OWU.

The next time an OWU student or volunteer calls, remember that these people have a great love for their institution- enough that they are willing to do something that a majority of people will not do.

And the next time that you see me, please don't walk away from me because of my position. My self-confidence can't take much more.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Fraternity Challenge Overhaul and Other Stuff

The OWU Fraternity Challenge has undergone some major changes the past couple of months. In keeping with the spirit of the NCAA's Bowl Championship Series (BCS), which changes its scoring method daily, the Fraternity Challenge staff and leaders decided to make the scoring more fair and difficult (but not as difficult as the BCS. You have to a valedictorian from MIT to understand the BCS).

Starting in February, the Fraternity Challenge began tracking the following three factors: participation, total dollars raised, and average gift per donor. Each organization is given a score for each dependant on where they rank. These scores are then added together to give each organization a Total Challenge Score* (TCS). The highest TCS is the leader. For example, in this month's rankings, the boys in Sigma Alpha Epsilon were ranked #1 in Total Dollars (14 pts), #1 in Average Gift Per Donor (14 pts), and #4 in participation (11 pts), resulting in a TCS of 39. To check the updated standings, visit the OWU Annual Fund website at http://annualfund.owu.edu/frat_chal.htm.

We're still looking for leadership in some of the fraternities to take Evan Corns and the boys in SAE on. If you feel up to the Challenge, call me at 740-368-3944 and let me know. Bring it.

* I tried to think of a snappy name for the TCS, but this was the best that I could come up with in short notice. I guess it could have Supreme Score of the Fraternal Order (SSFO) or Ultimate Show of Executive Support of Ohio Weselyan in the Highest Order Score (USESOWHOS), but it is too late now.

I See Shipps on the Horizon...

Congratulations to Mark Shipps '70 on being named Vice President of Univeristy Relations here at OWU. This is another time I was trying to think of something witty to say, but my thoughts keep going back to when I was 16 and my Dad would say "What did I tell you about being funny?" I would reply "That I'm not funny." Then he would smile and say "That's right."

So in interest of my continued employment at OWU, all I will say is congratulations to Mr. Shipps (or is it Vice President Shipps?), we look forward to working with you.

More Mailings on the Way...

It is that time of year again: the robins are hopping around, little deer and bunnies are opening their eyes for the first time, the world is awakening from its winter slumber, and the Annual Fund is gearing up for the Spring Mailings. Ah yes, Spring Mailings- what a glorious time of year. I know that all of you are extremely excited to see what ideas I hatch for the Annual Fund and Team OWU mailings, which is probably the reason many of you haven't given to the these respective causes yet. "What can Jason think of next? First, the smiling Bishop in the fall, then the Bishop in the Santa outfit at the holidays. How can he possibly follow that up? What could he possibly have up his sleeve (gasp)?"

I know- I wonder that myself. If you really don't want to find out, there is an easy way to miss out on my next piece of Direct Art (instead of "direct mail'): make your gift online to the Annual Fund and Team OWU and you won't get anymore mass mailings from the 2005-06 Annual Fund.

For those of you attending Alumni Weekend, I will be on campus. If you bring your mailings that I created from the past year, I will sign them for you and increase their value. They will be a collectors' item.

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