Wednesday, 23 May 2012

(Day 60) Let's smash it!

Monday 30th April (Day 60)

Let’s smash it

So, everything is in place now.  I have had ample training, probably more than most people.  I have been given more than enough time to learn my script.  And I have a highly motivated boss leading a team of charismatic individuals (and me).

So I was really looking to “smash it” today as my boss Alexis would say.  Although I found out early on in the day that the guy I worked with on Friday Chris had been fired.  Apparently he didn’t make enough sign ups to justify his position in the company.  This is the problem with fundraising, 95% of people don’t make the cut.  I thought Chris was good, how am I going to be kept on if he couldn’t?  This got me worried.


So I have been practicing the pitch a lot and I almost got my first sign up.  I stopped a young guy on his way to university; he was doing a very similar degree to the one I just finished so we immediately got on well.  I delivered a good pitch and when I got to the end which goes “so let’s get you on board!” he answered, “Ok, sure”.

What?  He actually wants to sign up?!  I have been trying for so long but now some twit has actually said yes to me!  However there were issues with his bank card.  I tried phoning the bank and passing the phone to him but he didn’t know the answer to his security question.  In the end he had to go otherwise he was going to be late for class.  Damn it, so close.

I was a bit down about just missing out but Alexis told me to keep going.  By lunch I was still on zero and I really needed to get some sign ups in the afternoon or the pressure would be on.  But no worries, I got two that afternoon!

Get in!

Yeah, I actually got some sign ups!  Both similar situations; guys on their way to a university class.  What was weird was they said yes straight away after the pitch.  People nearly always say no at first and we have to do something called “concern handling”.  Basically turn that no into a yes with polite persuasive charm.  But no I didn’t have to do any of that.

You could say this was too easy and I was sorted.  But there was an issue with the 2 sign ups I got.  Both people I signed up where under the age of 21.  Apparently 50% of under 21s cancel their donation in a few months and most fundraising companies won’t even touch them.  During my evaluation (first week) I am allowed to sign up one under 21 and the rest don’t count.  So really for my evaluation I only signed up one person today.  Alexis was happy I was signing up but said I needed to start getting some over 21s.

Oh well, it is a start!  Getting my first two sign ups without having to use any concern handling.  I am starting to think I might even make it past my first week this time!

(Day 58) Spectrum

Saturday 28th April (Day 58)


Tonight I was heading to a club called Spectrum for a 60’s night.  I was really looking forward to this night for the change of music.  I have been going to quite a few clubs recently (mainly Scruffys for some reason) and the music has always been the same.  I was getting sick of the same old club songs.  All the club songs seem to be about either sex, cars with big shiny wheels or living in some place called “the hood”.

Spectrum is on a street called Oxford Street which contains a fair number of bars including a handful of gay bars and clubs.  I have actually been to one of these gay clubs when I was with a group of people and we went to Oxford Street to see a drag show way back on Day 8.  Wow, that was 50 days ago!  I was still living in the hostel in Kings Cross back then.

Music to my ears

Anyway we went to Spectrum and I had a great night overall.  Spectrum is a small club with a very simple layout.  Medium sized square room, bar at one end, DJ at the other end, door to the toilets one side, door to smoking balcony on the other.  That is all you need really for a good club, oh and some music as well...

60’s music is a bit before my time so I didn’t really know any of the songs being played, but I do really like 60’s music.  It was all about the swing and dancing and having a good time.  The atmosphere in the club was great.

I find some clubs (Scruffys for example) the atmosphere isn’t as good.  A few people are dancing and having fun but at the same time you get these sleazy guys lurking around the dance floor looking to carve another notch onto their bedpost.  And not to mention the occasional hooker, not good times.

But Spectrum was very different.  Just lots of people doing swing dancing and generally having fun, it was more of a party atmosphere.

Back in the day

The 60’s music reminded me of driving around with my mate Will back in England.  He is a music teacher and when we are in his car driving around he plays 60’s music very loudly. 
You can imagine lots of cars driving by blaring out hip hop and other popular music and then Will and I drive by blaring out 60’s music.  We must have made a few heads turn.  Ah good times.

So Spectrum was fun and I think I will be dropping by here more often.  Maybe I could catch that drag show I missed last time (day 8) on the way.  Not that I particular want to but I am still curious.

An old logo I took from their Myspace page

Sunday, 20 May 2012

(Day 57) Best job in the world, almost.

Friday 20th April (Day 57)

Best job in the world, almost.

Old problems

Okay so yesterday I didn’t go to work so today was my first day.  This is the third time I have done fundraising although I have written off my first because I was rubbish at it.  The second attempt was where I feel like I actually learnt a lot and so surely by this third attempt I should be ace now?

Well I haven’t really had a chance to learn my new script....  Because of the events of the last few days I have barely even looked at my script.  The structure is the same as my last script but the contents is completely different.

I spent an hour burning the midnight oil trying to memorise the script but when I woke up the next morning and had a look at the script I realized I had learnt nothing.  Looking at the script this morning was like looking at it for the first time.

And I have work in an hour, bugger.  I rushed through it a few times over breakfast then headed off to work.

The crew

I was looking for my team on the street near the train station.  There were some homeless people walking around, a group of people who looked like hippies sat in the corner and a few business people walking to and from the train station but I couldn’t see any fundraisers.  Maybe I am in the wrong place?  Or maybe I am too early?

Actually, on closer look I recognise one of those hippies from the office.  Are those the fundraisers?  I approached them and it turns out they were, haha I am so judgemental.
Hippies is not really a fair word to describe them, I just can’t think of any better words.  There were about 5 guys in the group; most of them had long hair with one of them having a rather impressive set of dreadlocks. 

Two of the guys had brought musical instruments to work.  One of them had a guitar in a big guitar case, it was funny because he was a little guy and his guitar case was nearly as big as he was.  The other guy had brought his Conga drum to work which he was sat on and playing.
This group of guys were an interesting bunch, all very individual.  Not many people bring their Conga drum to work with them.  I suppose this is why Alexis had recruited them.  He wanted individuals, people who stuck out of the crowd.

So what am I doing here?  I don’t have long hair and I left my guitar at home.  Well I guess I am a little different.  People have told me I am not like most guys, I never knew if they meant it in a good way or not but I always took it as a good thing.  Who wants to be normal?  Certainly not me.

Anyway I liked these guys, they were all very chilled out and looked like good fun to work with.  Alexis showed up and we headed off just down the road where we were going to work.

Let’s smash it!

As a fundraiser you always start the day with a quick practice of your pitch with the group just before you start fundraising.  Since I hadn’t really learnt my script my attempt was poor.  I managed to get through it but only with some guidance.  Alexis said he could see I tried to learn it but described my pitch was shaky.

After the practice pitches Alexis left us to go and observe the other groups and I was given 5 minutes to learn my script and to start work.  So after 5 minutes of talking to myself I nervously put on my tee-shirt and started fundraising.

I was feeling uncomfortable because I wasn’t confident with my script but I was really keen to work.  I have mentioned before how much energy Alexis has.  He is always jumping around and being really exciting and he is really good at getting everyone really fired up.  He always says stuff like “come on guys, let’s smash it!”  Even though my pitch was incomplete I was so fired up and energized I didn’t really care.

The guy I was working with was called Chris and he was pretty awesome.  He has long blonde hair and blue eyes and really had the rock star look.  He was quite a magnet for the ladies, in fact one girl actually rushed up to him and said “this is for you” passing him a folded up piece of paper.  Chris opened it and inside was a phone number with “Call me!” written and underlined several times.

It wasn’t just the looks that got him the phone number, it was the energy he had.  Alexis had left us all charged and it was showing.  We were just on fire, I felt like we were the best fundraisers in town.  Well....almost.

Same old problem

Sure Chris and I were both really charged and working well as a team, you could almost say we were “smashing it” but there was a problem.  I just couldn’t remember the damn script.
I was stopping quite a few people but the more people I spoke to the less of the script I could remember.  There were several points where I just froze.  I just couldn’t remember what came next... I tried to cobble something together but it was rubbish.  Either that or I was going through it but missing out whole sections.

Chris said the best thing for me to do was be honest and text Alexis saying I couldn’t work today because I didn’t know my script.  He said that Alexis would appreciate me being honest rather than spending the morning of my first day trying to pitch people with half a script.

I was a bit nervous texting Alexis and he phoned me back straight away asking me what was up.  I told him I was having a great morning and we were “smashing it” but my script was coming apart whilst trying to pitch people and I needed a day off to relearn it.  He asked me “how much are you expecting to be paid today?”
I said “oh, don’t pay me for today”
He said “that’s fine, come back on Monday”

I think he really appreciated that I didn’t want to be paid for the hour I worked this morning.  I think it would have been a bit cheeky to ask to be paid for this morning after I really didn’t know my script.

So I am heading to the park now to learn my script.  I really enjoyed the brief hour of work today.  This job seems like so much fun and I love the crew Alexis is gathering.  After Alexis gets us all fired up I just feel like we are the happiest and most energetic people in Sydney.  I don’t think I have ever said this before but, today is Friday and I can’t wait until Monday!