Find the Helpers

Fred Rogers

As I said in last week’s post, these are unprecedented times. With these times of economic uncertainty, health uncertainty, and psychological uncertainty, one of the only things I know (for certain) is that the world will need philanthropy more than ever. And each of us can be one of the many helpers.

I fondly remember watching Mr. Rogers on television when I was a tiny kid. Little did I truly realize (at the time) what a thoughtful person he was. As a teenager, I would join my younger siblings watching Mr. Rogers and practically mock him for his corniness. I would like to attribute that poor decision to teenage angst. Looking at his messages now through an adult lens, I am amazed at how he took complicated life issues and explained them to his younger viewing audience. Watch the movie Won’t You Be My Neighbor to see just what I mean. I recently came across a quote Fred Rogers once said:

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

Fred Rogers

Who are the helpers?

What a concept! In this time of true uncertainty and anxiety, I have the privilege of seeing firsthand the generosity of folks. As I mentioned in last week’s blog, my team and I have been calling donors to check in on them and have a discussion. Every donor that I spoke to always asked how the staff were doing (we laid off over 480 people). They asked how our transitional housing residents were fairing (we have hundreds of people sleep at our facility each and every night). And many asked how they could help. I saw a great quote this past week that “donors want to be part of the solution, not just a band-aid”.

I have written (time and time again) that true fundraising comes at the intersection of a Donor’s needs and the Organization’s needs. This is a perfect example of that convergence. We have seen a definite uptick in the volume of donations.

In this time of social distancing, people want to be part of a community more than ever. It is akin to wanting something more because I’m told I cannot have it. And, since people cannot physically be part of a community, they choose to define community differently. We now have a strong virtual community, filled with emails, video messages, and phone calls. It is so heartwarming to know that society rises to the challenge.

I wrote before that society is ultimately judged on how it treats its most disadvantaged. I wholeheartedly believe that, based on the evidence to date, we will be judged favorably.

Due to Passover/Easter, there will not be an article next week. I am sure that when my next article is published, there will be lots more to share.

Be well.