Guest post by:
Rachel M. Decker, Executive Director, HAVEN Foundation and Director of Development, HAVEN
It wasn’t very long ago that I was handing out Halloween candy and while doing so, I heard countless parents prompting their kids with “What do you say?” and “Be sure to say thank you.” Some of them had barely mastered the ability to walk but moms and dads were already working on the skill of showing gratitude.
It was, of course, adorable. But it also made me think. Thanks to my own parents who valued manners as well as my career spent in philanthropy, not a day goes by that I don’t use the phrase. And as we approach the time of year that calls for the giving of thanks. I wondered, is “thank you” really enough?
Last year almost 4,000 individuals, companies and foundations supported HAVEN. Four thousand kind, caring and compassionate donors who believed so strongly in our mission to treat and prevent domestic violence and sexual assault that they were moved to help. They wrote checks, they held donation drives, they attended events, they donated goods and services. And all of it contributed to so much more.
They changed lives. They saved lives.
A 5-year-old saying thank you when I hand her a candy bar is an appropriate response for her to express her appreciation. But when I’m speaking to donors, surely there must be a better way for me to convey my gratitude for the significant, life altering and possibly life-saving impact they are making. Is there a better way to tell those donors what their support means not just to HAVEN, but to the nearly 30,000 individuals we help?
Truth be told….I’ve been reflecting on it since Halloween and have yet to come up with anything. But what I can do, is share an experience about what your support meant to a domestic violence survivor named Ashley that we worked with recently.
“I never thought I’d need HAVEN services for myself. Even on the day of my first phone call, I didn’t realize how invaluable my relationship would become. With extreme patience, kindness, and understanding of exactly what I was experiencing, I spent over a year with HAVEN accessing safety and ultimately repairing myself. The HAVEN team was a literal lifesaver.”
So please know that this heartfelt “Thank you!” goes beyond good manners. Thank you for ensuring that our services are available to Ashley and others that need us. Thank you for helping us work to treat and prevent domestic and sexual violence. Thank you for your kindness and your compassion. Thank you for your generosity. Thank you for helping instill a sense of hope. Thank you for supporting a world free of violence.
Most importantly…thank you for saving lives.