Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Your support today will keep me living indoors.

I'm sure you've seen them, all the letters that folk like me send to folk like you because we know that this is the time of the year when most of our fund raising dollars will come in. And in an economy like this one, there are loads of Executive Directors out there, like me, who are wondering if the money will come at all.

The answer is only known by you, trusty donor.

But, one thing is certain, now more than ever thinking about who you're giving your hard earned money, donations and time is vital to the life of the programs that support those who are most vulnerable. And this is the part of the letter where beg you to make Welcome the organization you give your money to.

Insert a heart warming story for those who give from the heart. Insert a fancy invitation and creative end of the year fundraiser, for those who need an event.

The links above will connect you to the tried and true fund raising strategies that you'll find in all those letters coming to your doorstep this month. Enjoy them if that's what works for you.

But I thought this year I'd try something new: the truth. The truth is that Welcome is an amazing organization that helps people one-on-one improve their quality of life through our core programing that teaches volunteers hospitality as we feed more than 680 individuals a month.

We also provide education for congregations and faithful individuals throughout the country. More than 89,000 read our blogs, I led 74 church services and spoke at 13 universities, national conferences, shelters and congregations around the country.

All our work is completed by 1 staff person and our more than 875 volunteers a year. But, we are so good an organizing communities, that nearly all the stuff we give away (more than 3,600 outfits, toiletries and socks a year and more than $3,000 of food a month) we get for free from donations.

This means when other organizations tell you that they spend very little on salaries and most of their funds go towards stuff for people, we do the exact opposite. We get all the stuff donated from congregations, organizations and individuals around the country and feed more than 8,000 people a year for about $7,000 a month. Most of this cost is my salary.

So today, I am literally begging you to help pay my rent. Living in San Francisco, my salary at Welcome only $7,000 a year more than my rent costs. You can see why a downturn in the economy makes me very very nervous. We are not an organization that can cut fluff from our budget during a tough fund raising year.

I am a pastor who works with the homeless, but I am reminded with each paycheck how close to homelessness I am myself.

Why would you want to help pay my rent? Well, if you've followed my blogs you've probably noticed how hard I work and how much I get done. But beyond that, you know that helping me stay housed, in turn helps thousands and thousands of others.

When I had the idea to make a farm that could provide free food to people in our neighborhood people thought I was crazy and it couldn't be done. When I fought to create the Homeless Identification Project, people thought we could never get funding for it.

These ideas have all come out of my deep listening to the homeless that I am blessed to get to work with. But, the real truth is that each year Welcome needs to come up with new innovative ways to serve the homeless or we are unable to get major grant support from foundations.

Together, with hundreds of other donors, your gift of $20, $150, $2000 can make a real difference to me.

Your gift today will take my mind off paying my own rent, so I can go back to supporting the homeless and hungry who need my time and support more than they ever had. $43 pays for an hour I spend with someone to help them avoid relapse; $129 can provide trauma care for a veteran and help them navigate life in supportive housing; and $258 allows me enough time with a homeless youth to help them find a job, reconnect with family and find alternatives to suicide.

If you don't have cash to spare during this difficult time, you can always help by recommending our program to your friends; asking folk to support us rather than giving you Christmas gifts; donating items to Community Thrift on behalf of our organization or by encouraging your congregations to support us with their benevolence funds.

Please consider donating now online or by mail:
Welcome, 1751 Sacramento St., San Francisco, 94109

Thank you for all the ways you support Welcome throughout the year!

Rev. Megan Rohrer
Executive Director

P.S. Your support now, helps us feed and care for thousands of homeless individuals in San Francisco.


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Susan L said...

Candy-She passed away. She fell and hit her head and did not wake up. Don't know when funeral is?