Homeless youth

Homeless youth
People we don't see.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The "What can you do for me?" relationship

I work for an organization that serves youth experiencing homelessness and youth on the verge of experiencing homelessness. We serve in in every way, from bringing food, clean underwear and other necessities to them wherever they are on the streets to providing emergency shelter, GED training, transitional housing, employment training and placement, case management, mental health services and so much more.

Some mornings I have to step over youth you have camped out overnight in front of our door way as I make my way into our building. The youth we serve come from trauma-filled lives, lives that have included sexual trafficking, drugs, alcohol, sexual, physical and verbal abuse and many things that you just don't want to read about right now.

Fortunately, there are thousands of people, companies, places of faith, foundations, civic groups and governments that want to support the youth we serve. These folks support us in so many ways. They might have different reasons for supporting us (every donor has their own very personal reason for supporting us) and in the end they all wish to give hope to the hopeless and a voice to the voiceless through our organization.

If you have been in fundraising for some time, you might be able to relate to what comes next.

Then there are those people who call me or send me an email, and I get at least one of these a week, and begin by saying how much they love our organization and then quickly move into wanting to do something "for the kids". I know that they mean the youth we serve who are ages 15 -24. They want their group to meet our youth, they want to "help" our youth, etc., etc.

I call this masking.

Someone masks as one you really wants to help our organization, and after being presented with the myriad of ways they can do that, passes on all of them.

They really want something from us. They want to know if we can support them.

A recent caller wanted to help, had never been here, and couldn't make time to come down to see what we do. Too busy.

I get that. We are all busy. Seriously.

If you want to make a difference in the world and support a non-profit, make sure that your support is unconditional in that you have considered this and truly want to support the non-profit, without any benefit for you. Businesses and organizations that want to purchase  table sponsorship for an event or sponsor an entire event obviously probably want to get something out that and when someone is donating $10,000+ I want to make sure they get something too.

Volunteering for a non-profit and financially supporting a non-profit changes the world. We need more people who want to change the world with us and less people who want to know what non-profits can do for them without care of who a non-profit serves.

Thank you so much for reading!

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