You’ve Got A Friend In Me

Dear Christian Radio…

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  I confess I was mindlessly scrolling through images on my phone, as I waited at the doctor’s office last week.  I paused at a photograph showing a line of baby strollers sitting at a train station.  The caption shared how people were bringing strollers and leaving them for mothers with small children, fleeing their homeland with almost nothing but a suitcase or the clothes on their backs. I was so touched by the kindness of strangers.  Simultaneously, I felt a deep sorrow over yet another world crisis.

In a time in history that leaves many of us wrestling with more questions than answers and often weighing feelings versus facts, the one constant has been our need for Jesus. At times when we might struggle to find the right words, we have His Word that is unchanging. And we have donors who need to be reminded of it more than ever.

In December 2019, I was doing my usual introspective routine of reflecting on the year and sitting quietly, seeking God’s face on what direction He would have me go in my role at PAR.  I felt a stirring to take our donor care to the next level.  Sure, we were doing some great things for our donors, but I couldn’t shake two words: “See them.”

To say that the next few months were confusing would be an understatement!  As we all learned of a virus that would permeate our lives for the unforeseeable future, as our leadership team questioned when and how to raise funds as a non-profit while people’s lives were turned upside down, I continued to hear the whisper of, “See them.”

I couldn’t shake an idea for ‘donor engagement, 2.0’.  For years we have been intentional in showing gratitude through phone calls to all who gave during our fundraisers and sending cards for Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  There are the usual letters mailed three times a year and monthly donor statements, too. But what would it look like if we took our entire donor list and divided it amongst our teams and made an intentional effort to see them as they faced virtual schooling, work from home, navigating supply chain issues, sickness and loss…as they felt more isolated and anxious than ever before, as families splintered due to differing opinions and up-ended routines.

What started as a bit of an overwhelming idea (to say the least) has become our why we exist.  Donors have become family.  Just as they trust us with their money, they trust us with their struggles and reach out to share their joys.  Deep friendships have birthed and we are excited to link arms and inspire those around us to live passionately for Christ.  A shared season of grief and uncertainty has fueled all of us to show random acts of kindness, pray with ‘strangers’ on web pages, share our stories with vulnerability and throw a lifeline to those barely holding on through texts, sharing scriptures, and phone calls to check in.

I don’t mean to sound Pollyannaish, but how could our world look if we all paused and asked ourselves, “How can I see others?”  What is Jesus stirring your heart to pursue? Have you quieted the world’s noise long enough to ask Him what He wants of you, your team? I encourage you to brave something new and go deeper with those God has placed in your care.  Perhaps for you it won’t look as profound as leaving strollers at a train station but it might be as impactful for the one you reach.

Blessings,

Kayla Sanders
VP of Partner Services
Positive Alternative Radio

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