(A Journey of a Leap of Faith)
Over the course of the past couple years I have dealt with a lot of emails from people regarding requests for more information or their interest in working with anti-trafficking. I welcome this and encourage it. If you feel called to be a part of this mission and want to know how to get plugged into local organizations contact me.
While some of these interactions have been great, most have been pretty fantastical.
Many not-for-profits couldn’t make it without volunteers. Many people want to do right and be a part of a movement they feel inspired by. So to make sure things don’t get started on the wrong foot, here is a dummy’s guide of rules to follow when reaching out to a not-for-proft:
1). Know what the organization does.
Seriously. While I was working with The SOLD Project, I fielded a request from a young woman who expressed her deep desire and calling to volunteer in our orphanage serving breakfast. That’s great except SOLD is not an orphanage and never has been nor has had a need to be. The majority of our students have parents, those who don’t live with family members and the only breakfast you would be serving would be to us (and thanks, always appreciated).
2) Offer a tangible skill and a plan for how you would use said skill to the organizations benefit.
SOLD once received an email from someone Stateside saying they had lots of different skills (not listed) and could play guitar only “in the style that is gospel” and to email them, ya know whenever, to just let them know when we could use a volunteer. <– This is not helpful. But if you email an organization who works with children of sexual abuse and propose a yoga class promoting relaxation and centering in your own body, that’s helpful (and awesome).
3) If you get a response, say thank you (or your momma is gonna be mad at you).
This is a major pet peeve of mine. Many of these not-for-profits are understaffed and underpaid folks who believe in what they are doing and are wearing many hats. They take time out of their day to respond to questions, provide information (be it on the cause or even how to fund raise (which is a question I get a lot)) or they respond with an email trying to point you in the right direction. I cannot tell you the number of times I have exchanged multiple emails with someone doing my best to provide information and never once received a thank you. Manners goes a long way.
4) Do not, under any circumstances, mention how you are willing to pack a gun and channel your inner Jason Bourne in the name of anti human trafficking. (Yes, this happened).
Or recognize that ‘smaller’ or less glamorous tasks help out these organizations so much. Assisting in writing thank you notes, donating tech savvy skills or manning a booth at an event enable these organizations to pursue their mission more than you know.
Maybe you don’t have the time to give due to schedules or you aren’t sure what skills you have to offer but you do have $10 or $30 or $100 spare. Any amount helps out–a dollar a day sends a child to school in Thailand.