This year, GivingTuesday was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the values and passions of our donors. The YWCA Resource Development team decided to give back to donors this year with a small token of their appreciation in the form of a framed poem.

Three members of our resource development team discuss their experiences below:

Shone Thistle, Development Officer:
I caught up with one donor, Jill, while she was serving tea at a senior’s residence. Jill volunteers for the board of Trinity Place Foundation, providing affordable housing options to seniors throughout Calgary. I learned about Jill’s passion to make a difference for so many Calgarians. She became engaged with the YWCA about 20 years ago when she was participating in the Calgary Women’s Network and they were raising money for the YWCA Safe Haven Program, a shelter program that supported young women at risk of sexual exploitation. This program was my first connection to giving to the YWCA as well so it was particularly meaningful to connect with someone with shared values and motivations in this regard. Jill is part of YWCA’s Inner Circle and we are grateful for her long term support and commitment to serving others.

Another donor I had the extreme pleasure of spending time with was Linda. Linda had just finished her volunteer shift at Meals on Wheels, delivering hot and cold meals to housebound Calgarians. You can only imagine how important this is during winter months in Alberta. Linda has been volunteering for them for 13 years and a couple of years ago her grandson Aiden, only 4 at the time, said “Sitti, I can help,” and so began his career as a Meals on Wheels volunteer alongside Linda. Linda shared with me her huge heart and how proud she was of his consideration and kindness. Both of us welled up with tears. I felt especially blessed to learn from Linda about Ramadan and Eid and the way their family uses these opportunities to explore the deeper meaning of life as well as to share their generous spirits with those who need it most. Linda spoke about a number of organizations that she and her husband Mark support, including HomeFront, The Calgary Poppy Fund, The Centre for Newcomers, Meals on Wheels and of course the YWCA of Calgary. As we were getting ready to part, Linda spoke gently from the heart saying, “Now that we’ve had this opportunity to meet and share with each other, when the YWCA has a need, please will you call me?”

All in all, the day was filled with heart-to-heart conversations about what it means to be there for each other in times of vulnerability and the gifts we get by giving. It was an absolute highlight in my career at the YWCA.

Cameron Graham, Donor Relations Coordinator:
For me it was a wonderful day of sharing and celebrating the amazing people in our community. One of my donors said “that she summed up what life was about in three statements; love yourself and others, keep learning, and serving”. Such simple short statements, but filled with a lot of truth. It was a wonderful day of sharing.

Malorie Stan, Major Gifts Officer:
The Resource Development team received AMAZING feedback on the YWCA’s approach to GivingTuesday. In true YWCA form, we stood out among many charities as we wanted to give back on GivingTuesday, rather than using the day as an opportunity to seek donations. The donors we met were touched by the demonstration of gratitude and very much appreciated the framed poem signed by YWCA clients, staff, and board members as a small token of our appreciation.

On a personal note, the YWCA’s expression of GivingTuesday reminded me, once again, of just how lucky I am to be part of such an impactful organization and meeting with donors was certainly one of the highlights of my time in fund development.

GivingTuesday is a National day of giving where charities, companies and individuals join together to share commitments, rally for favorite causes and think about others. We would like to thank all of our donors for continuously supporting us.