One of my favorite benefit auctions of the year is for an organization called Bridging. Their website describes their work this way:

“Furnishing homes with hope since 1987. Bridging was founded on one simple, yet powerful idea—that together we can create a bridge between those in need and those with excess. Since the first donated item, Bridging has provided the basic home essentials to over 90,000 families.”

The only thing I love more than Bridging’s mission is its founder, a man who is 94 years young and still whips around his warehouse by scooter six days out of seven helping families pick out the furnishings that will make their apartment a home. …Trust me, when Fran Heitzman speaks (always without notes), you will be able to hear a pin drop in a crowded rowdy ballroom. His speech is less fancy than urgent and makes clear the passion he has for those Bridging helps. Every time he speaks I fight back tears for the way that he inspires those around him. Every time.

Imagine then, when last week we transitioned from being Bridging’s benefit auction company to assisting my mom in becoming one of its household goods donors. She had downsized and needed to find new homes for the items that once occupied hers. I assured her we had a great solution and set the appointment to meet the truck at her house. In short order I identified the items to be taken and they were carefully loaded into the truck. I thanked the two men who were helping my mom to “make hope happen”. …Oh to be a fly on the wall when Fran helps my mom’s things make their way to their next abodes. I was privileged to experience even a small part of it.

As we begin the New Year, I challenge you to look with new eyes at your mission and the ways that you might invite your constituents into a deeper experience with it. This is the stuff of donor development and retention—and ultimately, community building. Cheers to all that you do!