Recently while attending a conference, someone asked me to tell them about one of our donors—the first one that popped up in my mind. Since HAVEN is blessed to have over a thousand donors, making contributions of all sizes, I had many from which to select.
But the first one that came to mind at that moment was Mark. Mark (whose name has been changed as he makes his gifts anonymously) has been giving to HAVEN since 1999. Every three months of each year, he mails us a check for $25. Without fail. He wants absolutely no recognition and has turned down attempts to be thanked in person or share his story. His actions however make it clear that giving to HAVEN is important. Mark cares and appears to want to make a difference in his community via his regular donations.
We have many donors just like Mark, individuals who have made long-term commitments to HAVEN, faithfully making contributions year in and year out. They have moved our organization through some lean years and have allowed us to grow and expand our programming and services. Their financial support has helped us to achieve 40 years of service to the community and now the dollars we’ve received to fulfill our capital campaign demonstrate great faith in our future. These supporters just like Mark, appear to be motivated and inspired to make a difference in both the lives of an individual as well as the community as a whole.
Throughout each year, when the mail is opened, we have wonderful moments of gratitude. Receiving a folded up $5 bill with a note simply stating “thank you” is so validating of both our work and our impact. Opening up a letter from an attorney notifying us of being named in someone’s estate fills our hearts with promise and hope. At times we receive memorial gifts with notes sharing stories of past abuse or in memory of a victim of a homicide. Each of these gifts remind us of our stewardship—our responsibility to make sure that these funds are used for good—getting us closer to both our mission and vision.
Receiving contributions is also very humbling, oftentimes bringing me and others to tears. When I look at the vastness of the nonprofit community, and as I partner with and witness the terrific work others are doing, my gratitude of being selected to receive a donation grows. I know there are many choices for making gifts and the mere thought of being “the one” for donors is heartwarming. And with each gift, regardless of its size, comes great responsibility. The responsibility of making sure it is invested wisely in our work and that we use it to “go forth and do good”.
We know that we have to earn each donation. We earn it through staying true to our agency values of integrity and excellence. We don’t take these values or the contributions of our supporters for granted. So in a thankful and humble voice – thank you. Thank you for caring for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Thank you for stepping up and making a difference in the lives of others and in working for a cause that impacts so many. Thank you for believing in a future where people can live free of violence, free of fear.