Office of Advancement
Office of Advancement

ALTogether Now

Vol. 79 – December 21, 2020

exterior photo of Summerhill building


Leigh Kalin

By Leigh Kalin, Associate Vice-Principal Alumni Relations & Annual Giving 

Happy holidays everyone

As I write this, we are a few days away from our holiday break.  It will be a different one this year without a doubt. Despite the circumstances I hope each and every one of you can take some time to rest and recharge.

I was recently challenged in an ice-breaker to share something I am grateful for in this insane year and something I will strive to carry forward from this year. It was a great opportunity to remind myself of how fortunate I truly am both at work and at home. I’m appreciative of the wonderful team in advancement and how we look out for one another when times are tough. With respect to work, I have so many thoughts on what I want to take forward this year that I’ve started a list so they will indeed stay with me. 2020 has pushed us all out of our comfort zones. We’ve all learned to be comfortable with the unknown and relinquish the control we thought we had! I hope you can take a moment over the break to reflect on the year and the impact it has had on you - positive and negative. Have a wonderful holiday, everyone.

Meeting-free Mondays are here to stay

Thank you for your responses to the Dec. 7 survey regarding our meeting-free Mondays pilot. An overwhelming 88% of respondents voted to continue the strategy of one meeting-free day per week. 77% of survey respondents who want a meeting-free day to continue selected Monday as the preferred day of the week to be reserved for work that requires focus and high-level thinking – such as writing, strategic thinking/planning, analysis, coding, or complex projects. The next most selected day was Friday, with 13% of respondents choosing that option.   

While we will not always be able to influence the timing of meetings with our external stakeholders and campus partners, given the overwhelming response to the meeting-free Mondays pilot we will commit to holding internal advancement meetings Tuesdays-Fridays for the foreseeable future.

Icon showing and envelope and a reportAn email holiday miracle

By Josh Adler, Email Marketing Manager Advancement Communications and Marketing

On Thursday, Dec. 17, we made history.

The very first email from our new email system, Encompass, was successfully deployed!

I want to extend a HUGE thank you to everyone who helped make this happen. It was a true, full team effort; from the systems and data sides to UX and design, everything came together beautifully. Thank you.

Some of the details

  • Over two weeks in December two onboarding training sessions were held with the very first six email users, mainly from the Smith team.
  • Smith identified the first email to build and deploy through the new system, which successfully deployed to 300 recipients at 9 am on Thursday, Dec. 17.
  • The build and deployment were quite smooth!
  • Throughout January and February every email user across all faculties and groups will be trained on Encompass, upon which all emails will be built and deployed through the new system.
  • We’ve already started to notice some of the benefits of the new system; from the build process, ease of use, and reporting capabilities.

I am happy to say that we’ve hit the target of having the system up and running, with our first email deployed, before the end of December 2020.

A wonderful milestone worth celebrating!

Accessing help over the holidays

Some employees are likely going to feel isolated over the holidays as a result of the COVID pandemic and so we have put together some resources Homewood has provided in the past around mental health as well as a brief intro to the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) just in case people have not heard of it before. Please remember Immediate family members also have access to the EFAP Program.   

Get to know your EFAP

Holiday stress and anxiety prevention

Mindfulness: Meditation and everyday practice

The invisible wounds of mental health disorders

Digital signatures – celebrating success!

In the past six months the Donor Relations team has moved to a digital signature model for Gift Agreements and Terms of Reference documents. While the road has not been without bumps, the overwhelming success of the time saving is worth celebrating. With a total of 35 files sent for signature, we are averaging two to three days for completion on the signature process. This used to be a process where documents would be physically couriered, walked over to another department on campus (oh, campus walks, remember those?), or mailed to donors and internal stakeholders. Our pre-remote work on these types of files was two to three weeks, with some taking months (or years, even). Please know we are still flexible and if your donor wants to sign a physical piece of paper, we will make that happen; digital is just our preference moving forward.

We want to celebrate this as it shows one more way that our Advancement colleagues and campus partners have adapted to change quickly and successfully. Although the walk from Summerhill to a campus building to personally deliver terms was lovely, the ease and ability to track exactly where we are in the signature process is undeniably better. We’re saving time and money and providing better service to our donors. So, celebrate with us as we have all adapted quickly and shown resilience in these unprecedented times once again.

Key to Success graphicJobs with Advancement

We need your recruitment help. Know great talent that would be a good addition to our team? If so, please promote the vacancies below with your networks and let’s find some amazing new team members.

Applications (including a cover letter and résumé) must be submitted through CareerQ. For additional information on this posting, please reach out to either Carla or the hiring manager for the position you are interested.


Available Position:

Administrative Assistant, Annual Giving and Young Alumni Annual Giving January 4, 2021 6

Fun fact

Scott Anderson and Deanna Bennett

Scott and Deanna brought some holiday spirit to a recent meeting!