Two Tattoos!

Apr 19, 2023

Personally, I don't have any tattoos...yet.  It seems like every time we go on vacation, we try to talk ourselves into one, then it never happens.  

It might be because of a very bad Annual Report memory.  One year our Annual Report theme was "Tattoos, Dog Biscuits, and Lemonade".  It was sort of a random theme, but catchy!  As you can probably guess, we pride ourselves in communicating a layman's message of what a Community Foundation does along with our successes from last year in each report.  And you can also probably guess that this report is edited and revised multiple times before it goes to final print.

The final print is a pretty big deal because we work with our local newspaper to print our Annual Report since they also deliver our report in the weekend edition of the newspaper to all their subscribers--it's the biggest print run we do every year.  No pressure, right?

So, this one year, we were butting up against the deadline and finalizing all the last-minute changes in order to meet the newspaper's run date--and we did it!  And it went to print.  And they made 21,000 copies for all their subscribers.  And on the cover, where the title was printed, it read, "Tatoos, Dog Biscuits, and Lemonade". We had spelled the word tattoo wrong. Yep...TATOO.  One tiny 't' was missing--on! the! cover!

Ugh!  Can you imagine?  So, what do you do?  What do you think we did?  I'm pretty sure I cried. I may have cussed. It was bad. Ultimately, we delayed the publishing date of the report and had the covers reprinted.  Since it was just the covers, it didn't cost that much but it was heartbreaking.  One silly little 't' caused so much trouble.

When you work so hard on a marketing piece like that, you think you've literally checked every single letter, especially on the cover. Then you realize that you've looked at it so many times that everything starts to look right. We missed it. We were just doing too much. That's when mistakes happen.

And that's where the two tattoos come in.  Once upon a time, when we first started segmenting our audiences and marketing intentionally with the right messages at the right time, we realized that life and work happens--inconveniently.  What I mean by that is even the best laid plans can't always happen.  Sometimes you just need to slow down and give yourself some grace.

Give Yourself Some Grace Instant Download Inspirational | Etsy | Gold ...

After all, your donors aren't sitting by their mailboxes waiting on your next direct mail piece to arrive!  In your dreams, right! So, maybe not all your plans happen. Big deal--you just can't execute the left brain marketing plan you scheduled for this week--and that's ok. There are no marketing police. No tickets. No fines. It's all gonna be a-ok, I promise you. 

This is where the two tattoos come in!  Initially, my Development Manager, Shelly, would worry if we fell behind or if it looked like something on the schedule wouldn't be able to happen as planned. So, I told her over and over again, for about a year, 'Shelly, we made the plan, we can change the plan'. Then we'd get on a roll again where everything went according to plan...until it didn't.

That's when the reminder happened once more...'Shelly, we made the plan, we can change the plan'. After many times of receiving this reminder, Shelly said, "We just need to get two tattoos. On one arm it will say 'We made the plan'. On the other arm it will say, 'We can change the plan'."  I cannot tell you how many times we've said this to each other throughout the years but it's a nice reminder for me, for her, and for you.Sometimes the plan has to change. - YouTube

And that's sort of happening today, too.  This isn't my full blog style, but 'I made the plan, so I can change the plan'. We have a HUGE 3-day conference that we are sponsoring this week.  So, not only are things a bit hectic with all the details that come with that, but my mornings are starting early---like 5:00 a.m. wake-up calls.  

And guess what, that's ok.  I love writing this blog, but I'm human just like you.  Life and work happens.  So, I'm giving myself some grace.

Perhaps, you'll take this mini-blog as a sign that even you can pause or halt, if needed. Of course, if you do get so popular that your donors are actually waiting next to their mailboxes for a direct mail piece from you, you might have to rethink that.  Until then, you're good!

And if you have trouble remembering that, just wait until your next vacation and go get those two tattoos.

All My Best,

[email protected]
dawn brown creative, llc. 




P.S. Fundraising is hard, even though you make it look
oh-so easy! ♥

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