I’m sitting in an exquisitely appointed waiting room in midtown Manhattan prior to an enormous solicitation when my phone starts blowing up. My dean’s flight to JFK is delayed. She will not be making it to midtown for said enormous solicitation. But cool, I think to my clueless 27-year-old self, I can totally do this solo. I can build all the rapport, I can say all the talking points, I can listen twice as closely. It will be just like when my dean is here!
When I am ushered into the Devil-Wears-Prada-looking office, the donor is eyeing me suspiciously. There’s a huge ashtray on her desk – the size of a serving platter. Of all the intimidating things in this scene, the ashtray got to me. It said that rules and norms for mere mortals/fundraisers don’t apply to her.
She took a dramatic drag off her cigarette, continued to eye me, and then exhaled as I stood there like a dork, watching her.
“Had I known it would just be YOU, I wouldn’t have taken this meeting,” she said. [Read more…]