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My first donation

Growing up in the suburbs of Detroit meant Friday nights at our local skating rink. Not ice skating or anything connected with hockey (please don’t judge me for not being your typical, mid-western hockey fan) but your regular roller skating rink. One Friday night in particular stands out in my memory.

It was the night I made my first, non-religious, donation. As an eighth grader out with friends, my mind wasn’t on saving the world, or in this case Harp seals. That evening a couple of folks from Greenpeace were tabling and projecting a video about their work. I was horrified with what I saw and donated $1.00 at the table.

As time went on, I didn’t think much about Greenpeace, but I did think often about the Harp seals. To this day I take small actions when I see a campaign to support these seals. Unfortunately Greenpeace hasn’t taken up the same amount of space in my mind.

Then three years ago I was back in Denver hanging out with my cousin and the door bell rang. It was a young man talking about Greenpeace. My memories swelled and because of that and his kindness, knowledge and lack of pushiness I donated $100.

By that evening I received an email thank you from Greenpeace.

There was a 35+-year span in between my first donation and my second. I’m not an annual donor to Greenpeace but have given again since the afternoon at my cousin’s.

I’m not sure there was an opportunity at a life-long donor when I spoke with those folks at their table at the roller rink. More of a chance with the young man at my cousin’s house.

The mission, even though it was such a small part of their overall mission, is what got to me both times. From Harp seals to the environment overall, I donated because I wanted to help them with their mission. I especially remember being in eighth grade, wanting to do whatever I could to help those Harp seals.

As you read about this memory of mine, I hope you find something here that strengthens your work in relationship building with your donors and with your fundraising.

Thank you for reading.

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