It’s 9pm, mid-February, 2015, and as my eyes glaze over I am trying to multi-task to count the amount of checks I have left to scan while laying the ones I’m scanning down on the printer in the correct order of dates. Before I know it, I lose track of where I left off, second guessing if I pressed “scan” on the last batch or have yet to do so, and my head starts spinning on what a disaster I would cause having the scan not line up to the dollar amount I have in this donation pile. The check saga overwhelms me to the point I decide it’s better to be safe than sorry, and I clear the scan to start over. It is my first month on the job and the description did read “must pay attention to fine detail”. I start to rethink what I have gotten myself into, and how much longer I’ll last…
Though there are still many long nights, fortunately due to technology and improving best practices, the days of being forever swamped with endless checks and hundreds of envelopes to stuff has passed. And close to eight years later, I am happily still here, at PBP. What has kept me at Powered by Professionals? I would attribute it a handful of things: the amazing work we do with so many nonprofits, the new opportunities and challenges that always arise to keep things busy, and discovering innovative ways to facilitate improvement in the process of planning events.
At the start of my time at PBP, we had to limit our work to our office desktop - immobile computers. It was both a blessing and a curse to receive my first work laptop that was connected to a remote server. Aside from the ease a laptop brought to the office space and to meetings, this changed how to approach my career and adapting to a new balance of my work/personal life. With convenience thanks to technology, there were many other advancements we leveraged for ease and efficiency over the next few years.
Online payment and platforms have vastly improved the last few years and the latest tools these platforms offer are meeting many, if not all, of our clients’ needs. As more and more registration platforms flawlessly sync with CRMs, the need to manually input each contribution has decreased, giving us hours back in our days so we can focus on other work. More people have become used to purchasing tickets or making a donation online, especially as smart phones continue to become more user friendly and part of almost everyone’s daily life. This has influenced the number of checks used for payment to go down drastically in the last 8 years. Though there are always two sides to everything: as this made things easier for all parties by using online payment platforms, payments do incur a transaction and platform fee, preventing the organization from receiving full 100% proceeds or having the donor spend more than originally anticipated.
Shared documents through Google Doc or another platform have been around long before I started working at PBP, but certainly have become a much more useful tool the last few years. This has provided a convenient way to collaborate as a team to edit and work on live files, reducing the need to download and send updated documents, and allowing for easy access from any location to the cloud.
Amazon, say no more. Amazon will save the day if we are in need of a last minute HDMI cord, flash drive or tape, and will prevent last minute running around town. Especially during these times with COVID, the world has become so used to having everything at our fingertips. This could become a bad habit, but in the world of event planning, it’s a saving grace.
The conveniences we have adapted to thanks to technology have reached many categories of our work. Whether it is taking an event’s auction online, which allows for last minute items to be added, descriptions to be tweaked, credit cards to be automatically charged and bidders to be easily informed they have won the item (let alone the amount of trees we are saving by decreasing our printing!), to incorporating livestreams feeds at our events, maximizing who is involved and bringing in endless possibilities beyond the venue doors.
Technology is constantly evolving, and there will always be something new. Just 3 years ago it would be hard for us to believe that you could scan a small, coded square (AKA a QR Code) and be brought to an entire event page that includes a digital journal, the ability to donate in one click, zoom links and so much more. The work we do is quickly and constantly evolving, but the overall goal has always remained the same: raising money and awareness for our charities and the incredible work they do.