On today's program,one of your guests expressed frustration that charity is handled by writing a check and not connecting with people. As a woman who has escaped from an abusive husband, I wanted to help with the local agency meeting the needs of abused women. I met with the woman whom I thought I was the volunteer coordinator. (I later learned that she really didn't have authority to sign up volunteers.) She listened enthusiastically to my ideas about bringing facts about domestic abuse to the attention of the community and signed me up to be on the Advisory Board. I was fired up to make a difference in at least one small corner of the country. I attended two, maybe three, meetings. The Advisory Board's function in stopping domestic violence was - fundraising. They were excited about departing from thier usual annual event and having their first ever - fashion show. The discussion was about hall rentals and menu selections. I felt l ike I had entered a different dimension. A pretty little tea party was being planned, glossing over an ugly victimization. All of that time and energy expended on organizing a fashion show that could have been used in educating the community and reaching women who think there is no help for them. That organization has bought into the idea that donors won't donate unless they get something in return. While it IS doing good work and helping many families, how much more could be done if the focus was changed from stroking donors to connecting with people? What is it about the American psyche that stays in the shallow water of breakfasts for charity and silent auctions for accident victims and avoids the deeper water of gutsy connections?
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