Thank You for Answering the Call

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Guest post by:
Rachel Decker, Director of Development and Capital Campaign, HAVEN

As Thanksgiving approaches, we are taking stock of all that we are grateful for at HAVEN. Every day, our supporters (read: YOU) are at the top of our list. Thank you for the incredibly indispensable role you play in helping us meet our mission.

Each year HAVEN provides shelter, counseling, advocacy and educational programming to nearly 30,000 people on a budget of roughly $3.3 million dollars. While those may seem like large figures, it equates to a mere $110 per person we serve. $110 spent to ensure that a victim who has suffered through horrific domestic and/or sexual violence is provided with assistance, support and compassion needed to help them and their children heal.

I feel enormous pride in working for an organization that provides those lifelines and is frequently cited for its effective management of financial resources. That pride swells when I see how our donors care about our efforts—enough to answer the call and take action.

Remember that $3.3 million budget I referenced? Roughly half of that comes from our donors. Nearly 3,000 individuals, business, foundations and community organizations realize the tremendous benefit that we provide our clients, and trust us to wisely and effectively use their financial contributions. You trust us with nearly $1.5 million each year annually.

In more than 15 years as a professional fundraiser, I have come to learn that no matter how worthy the cause, getting someone to make a donation, to hand over their hard earned money—not for personal gain, not for the exchange of goods or services, but for simply knowing that they are doing something good—is not an easy task.

As the director of development I often get the glory associated with a large contribution or a successful fundraising event, but how and why those donations are made has to do with much more than me. It has to do with the results the staff at HAVEN achieves and the promise of hope they see within our organization.

It’s our direct service staff (counselors, advocates, educators, hotline workers, nurses) that provides nationally recognized, best practice programming. It’s our executive management team and board of directors who ensure that financial resources are managed as effectively as possible and that donor contributions are stewarded with great care. It’s our volunteers who are some of our most tireless advocates, spreading the HAVEN message throughout our community. All of these groups are some of the most compassionate, dedicated individuals I have ever met. And it is because of these people, that my job is easier.

Back to our donors. Why do they give to us? They give, because they trust. They give, because they know nearly 85 percent of all donations go directly into our programs and services. They give, because 1 in 3 homes in Michigan is a place of violence. They give, because they know they can make an immediate and profound difference by extending a lifeline to someone who desperately needs it.

And for that we are incredibly grateful. Happy Thanksgiving!

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