Facilitators Of Gratitude

Sharea Rodgers shakes hands with Foodbank volunteer Ron Banister / Photo by Bethany Prange

When one hears the term “fundraising”, they may automatically think of dollars and cents.

But to me, fundraising and development at a nonprofit means much more than generating revenue to support hunger relief.

Part of our role as good stewards for our donors and supporters is to represent our organization in an open and engaging way. We share honest, compelling stories of the individuals we serve so that the public at large will understand our mission. We also work to maintain the trust of our donors by providing food assistance to those in need in the most efficient and prudent manner possible.

But above all, our task is to serve as “facilitators of gratitude.”

Last month, I attended the St. Louis Business Journal Women’s Conference. I was pleased to hear positive feedback and see the facial expressions on individuals who were familiar with the St. Louis Area Foodbank. Many of the attendees were very complimentary of the services we provide to the community.  Several individuals thanked me for the services the Foodbank provides for those struggling with hunger, while others said they had conducted food drives benefiting the Foodbank or volunteered their time to our programs.

Prior to the conference, I was already proud to be associated with the Foodbank.  As part of the development team and Foodbank staff, I have witnessed firsthand the impact of providing a meal to people in need.  Recipients of the food are very grateful for the assistance.  In fact, their comments include “thank you for the work you do!” and “I don’t know what I would do without your help.”
It is my job to pass that immense gratitude on to the donors, volunteers and supporters who make our work possible.

Like the clients receiving food assistance, we are grateful to our donors for financial support, volunteer service and overall generosity.  You continue to give through:
• Volunteer Service
• Annual Campaigns
• Special Events
• Planned Giving
• Direct Mail
• Matching Gifts
• Honor/Memorial/Tribute Gifts
• Community and Corporate Food Drives

I speak with donors on a daily basis who constantly thank us for the work we do.  Often, they express just as much gratitude for the Foodbank’s work as the clients themselves.

Hearing encouraging words, such as “thank you,” humbles and drives us to continue to work hard to earn the donors’ trust and to properly acknowledge their generosity by providing nutritional food to as many people in need as possible.

During FY11, your generosity enabled us to:

• Distribute 25 million pounds of food

• Provide 20.4 million meals

So, as donors express their gratitude to us for the services we provide, we in turn express our “thank you” to you, our volunteers, our supporters and clients. Without your help, many people would not be able to feed their families.

Thank you for your trust and support.

    Sharea Rodgers is a development coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank

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