Wednesday, May 30, 2012


In my business, I deal with a lot of donors and volunteers.  That’s really the lifeblood of work with the homeless.  We don’t have money to keep everyone fed and warm, so we seek donations of food and clothes.  And there is more work that our small group can do ourselves, so we seek volunteers to help us accomplish big tasks.

But there are rituals for donors and volunteers.  Donors usually want their donations to be more than a simple donation.  They’d like a receipt to mark their donation to take it off of their taxes.  Some would like their donation to be recognized in a newsletter or in our blog.  Many donors want to tell us specifically how to use the money, even if that isn’t our need at the time.

Volunteers really want the same thing.  They don’t want to be told what to do, or how to do something.  They want to tell you what they will do, and when to do it.  They want to do something you don’t need done, at times.  And, of course, they want your gratitude, and possibly a letter of recommendation for the hour of work they’ve given you.

Not all volunteers or donors are so insistent.  Most are wonderful, and gracious and so kind.  And I have to say, almost all of the homeless volunteers and donors are wonderful.  And this is because they are giving back.  They are grateful for the opportunity to give and to work, because they feel like they’ve paid a small back for all that they’ve received.  Sure, the clothes they donate may need to be cleaned and the service may, on occasion, need to be done again.  But the gracious attitude is one of the best things on earth.

"Who loves more, the one who has been granted much, or the one who has been granted little?  He who has been granted little, loves little."

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