I spent today at the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Kentucky statewide conference. While it was an interesting, engaging, inspiring, and enlightening day in many ways, there were aspects that made me feel a bit small. But then I realized how lucky I am.
No, we do not regularly get $1 million gifts at Rauch. Nor do we regularly receive $100,000 donations. Or $10,000 contributions. Or - let's be honest - $1,000 ones. But, you know what? We celebrate every dollar our donors invest in our agency. Truly.
Fundraising isn't easy for any non-profit, but it's often (at least I feel) especially challenging at our agency. Let's face it - we have some things working against us. To name a few:
- We have a funny name
- We're located in Southern Indiana
- Many people don't understand our clients
Yes, that can be discouraging for me on occasion. I've spent my whole life explaining to people how to pronounce my first name (Teressa), and the past three and a half years explaining how to pronounce Rauch (Rowck!). And then explaining who we are and what we do.
But really, doesn't that make success so much sweeter? I adore everyone who truly "gets it", who understands our importance, our impact, and our hearts. As I sat in the conference, my colleague e-mailed me to say that we got no donations in the mail today, during a very vital time for our agency, as we raise the final dollars needed for the next phase of our housing development.
A couple hours later, though, she told me we had received two unexpected $1,000 donations, one of which was from a first-time donor. Then, on the way home, I got an e-mail from a donor and volunteer out of the blue. It closed this way:
Thank you for the outstanding, brilliant ways you make it possible for the vital mission of Rauch to achieve so much good.
I never want to brag that we're a "hidden gem" or a "best kept secret". I'll keep working all the angles, telling people what we do, and sharing the impact of their support. But most importantly, I'll keep genuinely celebrating every investment we receive toward the betterment of over 1,000 children and adults who rely on us each year. Because I also genuinely love them. I couldn't ask for more than that.