Why does Heurista travel so far?

 Crossing the Peace Bridge, Buffalo, NY

Crossing the Peace Bridge, Buffalo, NY

We are known for hitting the road at every possible opportunity.  For example, each of the last two years, Heurista has packed its bags and made the long drive from Asheville, North Carolina to Toronto.  Why would we travel so far, especially by car?  The reason is simple:  we have a lot to learn.

Every trip is an opportunity to get out of the office and take a break from the distraction of our routine work to think about our goals.  Big plans, like the decision to publish the Journal of Donor Relations & Stewardship, happen on these trips.

A trip with lots of stops is our best opportunity to learn what is happening in the field.  When we travel for fact-finding instead of sales or project meetings, we are able to listen with different ears and gather new insight.  

When we attend conferences, especially the smaller ones, we have a chance to learn from those who are leading the way with new and renewed practice in the field.  My favorite presentation of the year (thus far, of course!) was presented by Tony Stringer and Teresa Kesler at the University of Georgia.  They are one year into building a stewardship group and shared detailed information about their cross-campus audit, their findings and their plans.  

 Anne Presenting at SEDRC in Birmingham, AL

Anne Presenting at SEDRC in Birmingham, AL

 Anne presenting at the ADRP Canadian Regional in Toronto.

Anne presenting at the ADRP Canadian Regional in Toronto.

 

 

Data we learned at the Toronto regional conference in April reset our assumptions about Canadian not-for-profit organizations.  Did you know that nearly 1 in 5 of ADRP member organizations are Canadian?  We see that as an indication for ADRP to more fully embrace its “international” claim and better study and respond to the needs of this constituency.  

 

Furthermore, conversation with the sample set of the professionals attending the Toronto conference indicates that Canadian organizations are implementing leading donor relations and stewardship strategies faster and with more ease than their U.S. counterparts.  It’s time to stop assuming that U.S. nonprofits are the de facto leaders in the industry.  We now have competent and growing completion.  What can we in the states learn from the Canadians?

This year's road travel has afforded us the opportunity to sit with professionals from Shriner's International, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Rochester, SickKids, Harvard, Boston CollegeRutgers, Habitat for Humanity and Michigan Radio

And we get to tour some pretty awesome places.  On one trip alone, we visited the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC; Golisano Children’s Hospital in Rochester, NYChildren’s Hospital of Boston; The Strong: The National Museum of Play; Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library; the Museum of Art and Design in New York; and the facilities of our donor recognition design/build partner, Honorcraft.  As creative people, this aspect of our travel gets us recharged and ready to bring new and exciting ideas to our clients.

 So, now matter how far away you are, don’t be surprised if you hear that Heurista is driving your way.  Despite the investment in fossil fuels, we find it the best way to keep ourselves informed and excited about our work!

POST WRITTEN BY ANNE MANNER - MCLARTY · JUNE 21, 2016