Dante said that the ninth circle of hell was cold. I say its cold calls. There’s nothing more awkward than telling someone: “Hi, I’m from Concern for Animals. You were kind enough to donate to our silent auction last year…” It’s for two good causes though, animal welfare and keeping my apartment. Here’s what I’ve learned about cold calls.
- You weren’t disconnected. They hung up.
- Get a list of previous donors. It will work five times better than randomly punching in numbers, and make it five times less likely that you’ll want to punch the telephone instead.
- It’s an ab workout. Your stomach tightens the minute you start dialing.
- Business 2.0 magazine says it’s a good idea to call around dinner time. Don’t do that. It’s rude.
- A lot of small businesses don’t have money to spare. It’s not personal when they don’t give, and it’s especially meaningful when they do.
- On that note, the ones that donate can make your day. I had a new prospect tell me: “Thank you for reaching out.” It still made me smile a week later.
Full disclosure: I have danced in my chair and sang “Money, money” after a successful call.
I moved into my new apartment last weekend. Mom helped me set up, and she said it was like sending me off to kindergarten. If that’s true…this is a really awesome kindergarten. Granted, the lessons so far have been about moving furniture. But when I breathe in, I can inhale the independence (it smells like the Lysol I used to clean out the bathtub). Which brings me too…
- Even if your bathtub is brand new like mine (no previous tenants), clean it anyway. Or you could get out feeling dirtier than you went in.
- Electricity costs, but it’s still okay to use the heat. Especially if it’s so cold your nose is running. Note: Slippers are your friend.
- If there isn’t much hot water, try boiling a tea kettle and pouring it in. Trust me, it helps.
- Make sure you get instructions for how to pay rent. I bugged my landlord about it early and often. I fundraise for a living, so she never stood a chance.
- Take stuff from your parents’ house to get you started. That’s what it’s for.
The wildest thing I’ve done in my new apartment was watch a movie and eat chocolate. And it felt like Marti Gras.
I started a new job this week as Development Director at Concern for Animals. I take care of grants, donations, and social media. I’ve been cold calling businesses asking for gifts and enjoying the fact that I have my own office. There are kittens just outside, so it’s a miracle work gets done at all. Here are a few things about my job so far.
- It’s possible to call the same business four times and still not get the person you need to talk to. I hope they haven’t filed a restraining order.
- Writing about cute kittens on Facebook is as fun as it sounds. I get to start sentences with “One of our little fur balls got adopted…”
- On the flip side, there are some desperate people out there. One guy called asking for medical help for his dog sent a video on Facebook of the dog coughing up blood. Oh boy.
- The funds I raise go towards helping people like the one in step three. That’s why I called that business four times.
- My own tastes influence the gifts I ask for. That’s why I called a frozen yogurt place, two tea shops, and a store that sells Star Trek mugs.
Note: When you take a (quick) break to pet a kitten, you have to pet them all. It’s only fair.
I spent my last day at work cowering in front of my computer. A red message blared across the screen: Oops!!!… Your Important Files are Encrypted. Send $30,000 worth of Bit-Coin to the following address. How had this happened? How had I managed to get a virus on my last day?
“It looks like they know who you are.” IT pointed to a line of text: G0tchuL0rnA.
I sat and hyperventilated. The scammers had my name—even worse.
“What does that say?” He gestured to a tiny squiggle at the bottom of the screen.
“Good luck Lorna. You’ve been scammed.” Oh god, oh god, oh god.
He clicked on the My Documents file. The names showed up, just as they usually did. “It doesn’t seem like they’re encrypted.”
Maybe, maybe this was something they could fix.
He sat back.
I turned towards him. “Was this a prank?”
He nodded, and I laughed so hard the back of my head hurt. I hadn’t cost the company $30,000! Co-workers said they wished they’d had my expression on video. One guy joked about getting me oxygen.
They’d said at his anniversary party that IT was a prankster. They weren’t lying. He’d once taped the HR Director’s keys to ceiling after repeatedly hiding them at eye level, so she wouldn’t look up. He said the virus prank was some of his best work and that I’d be telling future co-workers about it. And he was right—I would.