Dear friends in Christ,
“Don’t forget to write your thank you notes!” You know how people lament turning into some version of a parent as they get older? Maybe they develop an infatuation with one, very particular brand of a product or mirror a habit they observed while growing up, suddenly following patterns established decades beforehand. Well, that was me on a recent Saturday morning.
There I stood, at the foot of our stairs, yelling up at my six-year-old, “Don’t forget to write your thank you notes!” A fresh-faced Daisy, this is her first year selling Girl Scout cookies and we’ve included a drawing and small thank you note with each order. I help her write the thank you note, but my daughter provides the drawing and signs her name. Each note flashes me back to my own mother reminding me to send those thank you notes after birthdays, holidays, or other occasions of gratitude.
Growing up, I hated writing those thank you notes. I just wanted to play with my new toys! Little did I know that receiving, acknowledging, and celebrating the generosity of others would ultimately become a vocation. I joined the Forward Movement team last summer, with a background in fundraising and relationship building. I bring experiences with capital campaigns, annual appeals and donor solicitations, grant management, annual reports, and a host of other development projects. Donor-advised funds? I’m familiar. Bequests? No problem. Receiving stamps from a prison commissary in the mail? Now, that was new to me.
Being a part of the development world at Forward Movement is unique from any of my other positions because of the people in our network of ministry. Thanks to our donors’ generosity, Forward Movement provides tens of thousands of copies of Forward Day by Day for free each year. We have sent free, devotional items to friends in prisons, mental health treatment facilities, hospitals, assisted living facilities, and military bases around the world. This is only made possible by generous donors who support Forward Movement’s mission and work. We also write each one back to thank them for sharing their stories with us and remind them that they are beloved children of God, who matter to us, and in this world.
Like other organizations, our donors receive acknowledgment notes for these gifts that enable this ministry. Receiving notes of profound gratitude from inside those same hospital rooms, cells, and all too often lonely rooms has set my experience with Forward Movement apart. These notes share how relationships with God have been renewed, paths to forgiveness and redemption forged, and faith deepened. And there might be a stamp.
Using their credits at the commissary, the most vital form of physical currency, a donor might show their appreciation by including this small gift, just the size of a postage stamp, with their note of thanks that might say:
“Thank you for coming into my life- prison cell- and embracing me with daily hugs and warm wisdom.”
“Thank you for being my family.”
Small notes of thanks, with huge amounts of meaning.
– Lindsay Barrett-Adler