And this is how it’s done…

Posted on March 15th, 2010 It’s March, a month for me that is both the greatest…and the not so greatest time of year.  For one, it’s been pouring down rain for 10 straight days…sideways rain…but on the other hand, it’s the month that Levé chooses their 2010 Charity Ball beneficiary!  We started this process back in February at our retreat and all of us agreed a blog entry would give a bit more insight into how we get from point A to point Z in making this terribly difficult decision.

So, what’s step 1?  Good question Carol, step 1 is January 1st-January 31st.  The time period a non-profit can apply to be our beneficiary  (If you missed it this year we STRONGLY encourage you to apply next year-you can learn more here).   We then gather all information potential beneficiaries have sent us and they  become “The Packet.”  A better name might be “larger and thicker than a Victor Hugo novel,” as we are so fortunate to have an incredible amount of applicants every year!  Once “The Packet” has been assembled we each grab one to seriously review.  No skimming, no browsing, no perusing…just straight up researching each and every one along with offering notes/comments in the sidelines.   It’s tremendously important to all of us that we give our fair and undivided attention to all interested in being our beneficiary so that we can make the most educated decision.

Next comes part 1 of a 3 part meeting series devoted solely  towards picking our 2010 partner.  Our full board, collectively goes over all interested applicants and offer our thoughts on each one.  We have the unique outline of being both professional and genuine friends so no one holds back…in fact not one of us has a qualms about saying “I respect what you’re saying, but disagree…do you think we can go over this again.”  It’s generally a 4 to 5 hour meeting and once it’s completed we have narrowed it down to 15 beneficiaries.

Meeting 2 is up on deck and one of the more insightful meetings anyone of us attends throughout the entire year.  Out of the narrowed down 15 each Levé board member nabs one she thinks she can best represent…an ambassador role so to speak.  We each visit our beneficiary to delve deeper into what goes on year round.  It’s a serious interview no question but it’s more about letting the organization present things on their terms, in their home, and in their words.  Year in and year out we are all blown away by the dedication, inspiration…and let’s face it…a whole lotta heart each non-profit posses.  Meeting 2 is all about taking those incredible feelings we are left with along with a mountain of information and converting it into a 5 min presentation to our board.   To be honest…5 minutes is not enough (as this meeting ticks up to the 4 hour mark as well)…all of us go over…some of us spend hours on elaborate poster boards…others prefer a more technical approach in the form of PowerPoint…while some work in Marketing and just have a way with words, whatever methods we may use…one thing is for sure we each get to personally know 15 Pacific NW non-profits that have an immense impact on our community. From there we each get 5 votes and choose the ones we feel can utilize Levé’s resources the best.  Through years past it’s not uncommon to see a Levé board member become so attached to their temporary ambassador role that they end up taking a more permanent spot in the organization.

Our last and final meeting is to announce the 5 beneficiaries we narrowed down to…and again…more discussing…only we change perspectives a tad a look at each one through the eyes of our donor base.  How will the potential beneficiary resonate with THEM?  Are there multiple ways for donors of all ages to be involved?  Will they continue to be a part of the beneficiary after the conclusion of Charity Ball?  ….and about a hundred others…from there it’s simple…(not really)….1 vote is all you get…and after it’s all said and done, we have our 2010 Charity Ball beneficiary!

Hope this gives a little more info on our process….stay tuned for our announcement!