A few months back, I offered 12 travel tips for the flying fundraiser. Christina Attard left a list of her own in the comments. Her suggestions were so good, I wanted to make sure you saw them! So here they are! (You can follow Christina on Twitter @GPtekkie.)
I travel a lot and here are some tips I've picked up:
- Always bring at least one thing you can wear in front of a donor in your carry-on as well as an emergency pack of ultra-basic accessories. My luggage has gotten lost A LOT and you need basic functionality on board so you can hit the ground running.
- Always join the hotel membership clubs. As George Clooney states in Up in the Air, “There’s nothing cheap about loyalty.” They’re free and the possible perks are valuable – ie. free internet, special lounges, room upgrades, exercise clothes. If you find that you need a higher level of membership class for the really good perks, try (nicely) asking for them anyway.
- Organize your paperwork. This sounds obvious, but donor visits sometimes involve a lot of paperwork. I had a binder system with tabs – one tab for each day on the road with schedule for day, map directions to each donor, donor profile, proposal paperwork, 1 sheet note paper and pre-addressed thank you card.
I also had a plastic envelope sorted by tabs for each day for my receipts – easier than fishing them out of my wallet in with the IKEA receipts from home later on!
- Create a home away from home. Often, donor visits take place at a home or office – something I’m becoming less comfortable with as a female traveling alone! Try to set up an office in the city you’re in and hold your meetings there. One creative solution is to ask a donor or board member to offer you a meeting room or extra office in their suite for the day.
I will often set up shop in the hotel restaurant or a coffee shop and ask the manager to simply hold a single table in a quiet corner for me for the entire day and return to that same spot with each appointment – less travel time, more talking time and I feel safer in a place where I have some control of the territory.
- Couldn’t be my list without a wardrobe tip When you buy suits, always get at least two pairs of pants or the skirt and the pants to go with the jacket. It makes packing so much lighter when you don’t need to bring multiple jackets!