By late December I’m usually done with my annual donations to organizations that, in my opinion, make a difference. This year, at the last minute I realized I’d forgotten Vote.org. If you know my brain injury peer-to-peer voter outreach, you’ve probably seen the result of their work. Vote.org is my guide to navigating the maze of the election process which is how we get out the vote and make our voices heard. They give us the help we need, which is why I want to give them the support they need.
When I went online to give, I saw their donations are processed by an organization that collects the names of donors from one cause and uses them to solicit donations for the other causes they support. I didn’t want to be bombarded by emails from everyone they’re raising money for, so I decided not to donate through Vote.org’s website and to let them know why. But I also wanted them to know how much I value their work, and that they make a big difference for our community in many ways. Writing the email was no big deal, and I certainly was not setting out to make change.
From Laurie to: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’d like to donate, but not through the organization who’s processing donations on your website [because…]
Is there some way to donate directly? I think you are doing a wonderful job, your site is fantastic, in my advocacy for people with brain injuries that’s where I send my peers because it is the clearest place to understand what you have to do, where to go, and get it done. But when I saw the credit line on your donate page, I hesitated to give. If there’s another way, please let me know. If not, please just accept my honesty and admiration (I can’t give much anyway, so it’s not like you’re giving up a big donation.) But you should know how I feel, and thank you for hearing me out. Best, Laurie
The reply I got from Bridget@vote.org
Thank you so much for your kind words and support of Vote.org!
Knowing that our site is serving people with brain injuries to help them vote is incredible. Thank you for sharing that with me and for spreading the word! Would you mind if I shared that note with the rest of the Vote.org team? They’d love to hear it, and it will also remind them to keep that demographic in mind as we continue to update the site.
I totally understand your frustration and thank you for being so frank…. Your timing is perfect. I have been exploring other payment options for the website and this is another reason to add to my list.
One person (me). One email.
Wow. I may not have been trying to make change but something big happened. I’d said my piece. I’d been heard. I made a connection. And maybe, just maybe, something will come of it.
Vote.org is an important communication website, and they listened. Bridget picked up on where I was coming from, on brain injury awareness and accessibility and has even thought ahead to what she might do to help. That’s how change starts.
You can be heard, too. It doesn’t matter how small the issue is or how small you feel you are. All that matters is that you care, that you reach out, and that you act on it. Make it personal. But keep in mind: telling a friend or getting mad is not enough. Approach it with grace and good intentions.
You may reach someone like Bridget (thank you, Bridget), or you may not reach anyone at all. (You may also get the dreaded canned response: “Your message is important to us. We cannot reply at this moment so please fill out the form on our website at: www.wedontreallycareatalldotcom“).
But no matter what happens, if you make a resolution – for the new year or any time at all – you can make a difference. Give it a try. If you don’t, who will?
Wishes for a Happy New Year to all my readers and your families. May the coming year be one of hope, health (at long last), joy and peace – in your home, in your heart, and in the world. I know it’s a tall order, but we all have to dream.
PS: Thanks to the USPS, I could donate as I wanted to do from the start. And I’m sure Bridget was pleased that their work was supported, even with a small donation.