I moved to the Chippewa Valley of Wisconsin in 2017. I went from living in the city of Chicago (yes, in the actual city) to living in a small rural community of 1,400. Sights like the pictured beautiful sunset over the Chippewa River in Eau Claire, Wisconsin are now a part of my daily life.
The sounds are different here. Instead of hearing the incessant sound of airplanes landing at O’Hare Airport from 5:30 AM until 11:00 PM, I now hear farm equipment, the call of birds, and often, silence.
Adjusting to the quieter days and nights, and many fewer cars on the roads, has been quite easy. Some things have been harder.
There are the ticks that I now have to think about whenever I am on my property and the weather is slightly warm — even in my home –thanks to my three rescue dogs, the tick magnets. And I need to remain ever vigilant for deer when I am driving. I have learned to listen and look for the occasional bear that will wander out of the woods onto our street.
One of the bigger challenges has been encountering websites, systems, and ways of doing business that are largely outmoded. Whether it is our town government, a nonprofit organization I adore, or a local business, I am struck by the lack of ease in getting things done. To join a local arts guild, I must fill out a paper form and mail it in with a check. To purchase and renew our dog licenses, I have to send copies of the rabies paperwork with a check and relevant information through the mail. Attending a fundraiser our first fall here, I was shocked to learn that I could not pay for my silent and live auction items until I received a custom bill — a full week after the event! (Could you imagine that happening in Chicago?)
Over the last two and a half years, I have done my part to slowly change things. That fundraiser I mentioned — I now chair it. Everyone pays before they leave, by cash, check, credit card or debit card.
I have helped my congregation move to technologies that allow individuals to manage their pledges online. No more having to fill out a paper form, give it to the parish administrator, and have her work with the bank to set up an auto-deduction. Anyone can go to our congregation’s website, give a one-time or recurring donation, decide where that money will be deducted from, and change the source at any time. Individuals can even text a donation to the congregation from their pews!
Much of my work for the last 22 years has been to help associations succeed by implementing technological and operational solutions to maximize efficiency, cut costs, and improve member and customer service.
Since moving to the Chippewa Valley, I have continued to work with associations throughout the United States on strategies and solutions to meet their missions. Meanwhile, locally, I have taken on several volunteer roles where I have begun to make a positive difference in the same ways. As much as I would like to be a full-time volunteer, that is not something I can afford to do. But I can afford to bring my consulting services to my community, meeting nonprofits, congregations, and foundations where they are at to make incremental improvements.
Change doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. It needs to be carefully considered and implemented correctly, and I excel at leading organizations through that process.
Reach out to me, fill out the contact form, set up a conversation. Let’s talk about how I can help your organization improve efficiency, save money, and optimize constituent engagement.
Dawn Briskey, MNA, CAE