CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Most people do not enjoy color-coding charts crammed with information and organizing to a point that someone familiar with the Dewey Decimal System would say, "Enough, already."
I, however, find solace in not only sorting and placing, but also compiling detailed itineraries for even the shortest of trips. Even if I don't do half the things I schedule for myself, making a list and checking it twice is something I do year-round.
This obsession with organizing seemed hardly useful until my husband and I heard that our church was sending a relief team to Haiti this summer.
He and I are, well, we're crybabies. Our emotions would render us useless on a mission field, but we wanted to make the trip easier for the capable hands of those who can go.
We put our brainstorming skills to work, along with every highlighter and pen in the house. We also read a lengthy list of literature on the subject of fundraising.
At the top of our list was something we had never even attended - a silent auction.
Through the years we had helped with bake sales, car washes, Girl Scout cookies, wrapping paper and other efforts. Heck, my husband even sold GRIT newspapers in his younger days, but neither of us had been a part of anything of this magnitude.
In early January I began researching, drafting and revising our donation letter. It became the cornerstone of our auction.
I soon discovered that most organizations start collecting auction donations at least six months ahead of time. Our auction is April 6, so we had less than three months to amass our wares and find food and entertainment. We had a limited budget, few helpers and no experience.
We decided to just ask everyone.
The worst anyone could do is say no, right?
I began making lists of every company with a logo. We wrote hundreds of celebrities, including some who we later realized, to our chagrin, had passed away years ago. But determination quickly netted us a bevy of potential contributors.