Editor's Note: Snow and Strategy
It's snowing again in Philadelphia. If we get the eight to 10 inches that are expected, the total accumulation for the area this winter will be pushing the 80-inch mark. "Snowmageddon" is what we're calling it.
This winter here in FS' hometown has been a tug-of-war with Mother Nature. And all of our storms so far have shared a funny quirk: It snows — hard — and then there's a lull of an hour or two when the promise (or threat) of more snow hangs heavy in the quiet calm of winter air, cracked only by the crunch and grumble of folks with shovels trying to get a jump on the Big Dig. They dig. And dig — turning pristine expanses easily imagined as fairy paths or the delicate nape of Nature's winter neck back once again into sidewalks and cement drives. But Nature just won't give, and she quickly dismisses their work and snows all over their parades.
For those unlucky enough not to be able to stay home, morning drives turn into an exercise of pushing and grunting and tire-spinning. Low-riding cars morph into snowplows, rendered impotent halfway up the street by a dozen or so unrelenting inches that tear at their vulnerable underbellies and threaten exhaust pipes. Higher cars, left with wheels squealing, sound the warning — stay home! — with every noisy revolution.
But those who can eschew cars and commutes, the little and not-so-little lovers of frigid fun, take to city streets and suburban hills and vales with sleds and boards and dogs to make the best of a much-loved but none-too-frequent snow day. The frigid onslaughts of flakes leave in their wakes days in which sunlight dances off the shiny veneer of perfectly frosted fields. The world is a big, lush cake and the snow its sweet, white icing.
They brave the hills on their sleds and snowboards, breathless and red-cheeked. Some even ski cross-country, forgetting that the country is really just the city or the town. The familiar disappears under Nature's disguise, and anything is possible. Close your eyes and fly. Spin in a hat. Listen to a snowman whistle.
What does this have to do with fundraising? One thing we've learned from snowmageddon is whether your goal is to clear your sidewalk, get to work or simply have fun, strategy is key. Shovel too soon and you'll be at it again in an hour. Wait too long, and the weight of the snow will be backbreaking. The old, familiar route to work might leave you stuck. Not enough layers of clothing and you'll be soaked to the skin before your first trip down the hill. Too many and you can't move.
But aside from that admittedly loose connection, walking around in this marshmallow world for two months has more sharply honed my sense of the fanciful and beckoned more insistently for my inner child to come out and play. It puts me more in touch with Nature, which puts me more in touch with faith, which makes my heart swell with hope. Yes, outrageously. And as you know, outrageous hope is my mantra for the fundraising sector. So here's to hope and to snowstorms, and to the strategies that help us harness their magic and their power.