Musings from the Development Office

Many people don’t envy me my job as a Development Director. I know what a lot of people think about fundraising – it can be awkward, embarrassing, it’s like begging, etc. When I introduced myself to a former parent last year, she said, “You must have a thick skin from all those people saying no to you all the time!”

But it’s not embarrassing to ask people to support a cause I believe in. The great part about my job is being able to witness every day the impact of what I do. (Being awarded a grant or receiving a donation is a nice high as well!) From observing and talking to the students and young adults and hearing from their parents, it is clear to me how important The Community School is to both the participants and their families. The other day I was sitting in a meeting with a few parents, and one of them talked about how her son wanted to come to school even when he was sick last year. Another parent, whose son has only been at TCS for a little over a month now, said she has already seen significant changes in him and it has been life-changing for her whole family.

This is why I ask people for money, why I enjoy talking or writing about the amazing and wonderful things that go on at TCS every day. It’s not a burden to ask for money when I know that that money will support an organization that is changing lives. But fundraising is not just asking people for money – it’s one step in a long process. Fundraising begins by simply talking to people about a place you care about, a place that’s doing good work. Think about this: if you happen to be talking to a friend or family member about an organization you’re passionate about (whether it’s TCS or not), you probably won’t focus on money. You would just talk about how great the organization is, the fantastic programs they have, what they do for the community/animals/the environment/individuals with autism/etc. And then, perhaps your friend would say, “Wow, that sounds like a great organization. How can I support them?”

Maybe that’s not really how it would go. However, no one is going to donate to a cause they’ve never heard of, so you have to start somewhere. You never know who is listening, who is looking for a new organization to support, or who is simply trying to find a worthy cause to donate to at the end of the year for tax reasons. There are so many worthy organizations out there, and it can be difficult to wade through them all – so if your friends and family are looking for a nonprofit to support, why not one that you feel strongly about? The next time we ask for your help in supporting TCS, aside from making your own contribution, think about how you can spread the word.

Of course, at some point you do have to ask. So right now, I’ll ask you: Would you consider making a donation to The Community School today? Your gift can make a significant difference in the life of a young person. Thank you.

– Sarah Hersh

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