Sunday, April 24, 2016

Random Rant: Gratitude Should Be Extended To All

Earlier today, I had an interesting conversation with a long distance friend of mine. She vented. I listened to every word. It hit home. I witness this frequently. The frustration. Confusion. The cliques. The questions that surface. Wondering if what you're doing is enough. Is it making a difference. I asked if I could share her story. She gave me permission. It's not word-for-word, but pretty close.

"A few months ago, I made a donation to a local animal rescue group. The donation included $30, a single pet bed and a few pet toys. I wish I could donate more, but we live on a budget. I figured my donation would help out a little. They thanked me. I was happy to help out. 

A week later, I noticed a special write-up on their page about a woman who donated $500. They made a big deal about her. Posted her photo. She even got to visit some of the foster dogs and cats. They posted photos of that too. She had total celebrity status. 

Please don't get me wrong, I don't do things for recognition or a pat on the back. I do things because I want to. However, I was a little crushed that this woman received so much recognition for her generous donation. When I made my donation, nothing was mentioned on their page. 

I feel like shit for feeling this way, but I think it's rude. Not everyone has $500 to donate. Some people can only donate $10 or $30 along with a few blankets and a bag or two of food. Why are those people not acknowledged? Why isn't the gratitude extended only to a select few and not all?"

I sat with this for a bit. It hit home.

A few years ago, the founder of a local rescue group ordered biscuits from us. Back then, we were running out of pocket. We still are. We delivered the biscuits. When it came time to making the check out out to us, we said, "Take that money and put it towards your rescue group." They were just starting out and the funds were much needed. We felt good about our decision. Anything to help the animals out in need.

Shortly after, a woman stepped up and made a generous donation. Like the situation my friend described, she had celebrity status. She was recognized. Mentioned. Had the spotlight.

I took notice to this. And, I didn't like it.

One of my favorite quotes, and one I adhere to each and every day is, "Great things are done by a series of small things brought together." In other words, everything matters. Everything counts. Let's say you have to raise $500. Should it matter if one person donates the total amount or it takes 50 people to raise that same amount?

It shouldn't matter, but it does. And, it sucks.

From personal experience, and from those who have approached us with their frustrations, this form of favoritism doesn't apply to all. There are rescue groups and organizations who extend gratitude to everyone regardless of how large or small the donation.

However, there are a handful who tend to feature and acknowledge the exclusive. 

For the sake of keeping things open and honest, we have encountered both ends of the stick. Yes, I'm talking about Bodacious Biscuit Love. Over the past few years, we've had people seep through the woodwork asking for donations, raffle baskets, bags o' biscuits to hand out at their events, etc. They've promised to give us a shout out to get the word out there about what we do. We rely on that. A lot.

In those few years, we've learned some follow through. Others don't. We know the ones who do. We're aware of the ones who don't.

The ones who follow through, we've established solid relationships with and you're good. We are grateful for the shout outs and invites to your events. We adore you and applaud your daily efforts towards the greater good and we will continue to support you.

Those who don't follow through, well...  There's a pattern. I receive a message or email.

"We're having an event on (insert date) to raise money for (insert mission) and we were wondering if you'd be interested in donating a raffle basket. We'll be promoting the people who donate and giving everyone a shout out."

I reply. We're more than happy to donate a raffle basket or two. We make arrangements for delivery and pick up. I check your page frequently. Nothing. I check the day of the event. Nothing. I check after the event. Nothing. A week later. Nothing.

Wow. Thanks. 

The icing on top of the cake is that we don't hear from these people until their next event.

"Hey, we're having an event...could you...we'll give you a shout out. Blah. Blah. Blah."

Here's the deal. People work hard for their money. Whether they're donating $30, a bag of blankets, bags of dog food or putting together a raffle basket to help raise money for your cause, it's out of pocket. Money doesn't grow on trees. The money put towards YOUR efforts, mission or event is money people have gone out and earned. With the cost of living souring through the roof, there's not a lot of extra at the end of the day.

In this day and age, everyone is asking for help. Funds are needed across the board. If you can take the time to post requests and "urgent help is needed" posts, you're quite capable of extending gratitude to those who donate. And, please don't give special "celebrity" acknowledgement to the ones who donate more than others. Treat every donation the same. Trust me, this will make a tremendous impact on future fundraising events. The one who donated $500 may not be able to do that a year later. The 50 or so people who could only donate $5 will be.

Gratitude goes a long way. Letting people know how much you appreciate them goes a long way too. When people know how much they're appreciated, regardless of how much or little they can contribute, they will go above and beyond and continuously donate their time and efforts.

*drops mic and walks away*

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