I just came across a post our old friend Samantha Zirkin wrote after volunteering with the Foundation as a fundraiser almost two years ago. I don’t know how I missed it! Please take a moment and read it.
Sam’s time with us was a turn-around point for me as a fund raiser: I had never met anyone so confident about asking people to donate money nor so certain that she was actually doing them a favor by giving them the chance to do so.
She made me see my role differently. I began to take more risks, to lay myself open in ways I wouldn’t have dreamed of pre-Samantha. I didn’t realize it then and I’m only slowly understanding it even now, but she showed me a different way to be in the world. Her down-to-earth, matter-of-fact, practical approach to fund raising made me think – perhaps for the first time – that all our dreams were actually achievable. That if we set targets, we could reach them. That if we needed a crore of rupees, we could come up with a plan to get it.
Samantha sees fundraising as a vital part of social change, an honorable, exciting part – not something to apologize for or to feel awkward, servile or abjectly grateful about. I had thought that’s what I felt too – but seeing Samantha’s wholehearted embrace of the challenge, her eagerness and her passion for promoting our mission, I realized I had been timid and nervous till now.
When I read her post this evening (Oh, do please read it! she says such amazing things about us!), I realized that I’ve changed a great deal since meeting her back in 2011. I’m in her camp now. I think it’s a privilege to give. I think people want to contribute to good work and that they are just waiting to be asked. The excitement of imagining a world where children with special needs are included and valued and given the chance they deserve is unparalleled. But it’s meaningless if we aren’t serious about achieving it.
Samantha convinced me to get serious. We are here to change the world for kids with special needs. I am so excited. And so ready. You can join us. Anytime.