Archived Voice Articles
Thank-a-thon follows phone-a-thon
For forty-seven Dordt College students, the end of the semester also brought the end of nightly calling to supporters of the college. They began the year asking for gifts for the Dordt College Fund. But as the semester progressed, students have also been calling donors to thank them for pledges honored and gifts received.
Students have been blessed by these calls, says Barb Mellema, director of annual giving.
Nate Marcus, Amy Staal, and Brittney Bowar are three of the forty-seven students from three provinces and twelve states who call constituents every Monday through Friday evening, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
“We recognize that there are many worthy organizations our supporters can give their money to, and we are honored that they share their dollars with us,” she explains.
During the thank-you call, students also mention that they begin each evening with prayer—for wisdom to not offend people, and for love not to think of the voice on the other end of the line as a dollar sign. They also ask if supporters have anything they would like included in the prayer. Supporters are often surprised by the calls of thanks, but many are willing to share their prayer requests.
Students listen compassionately to people concerned about loved ones who have died, are sick, or seem to have fallen away from faith; they listen carefully to concerns about peace in the Middle East, safety for soldiers and people in Iraq and Afghanistan, and wisdom for churches reaching out to their communities; they listen thankfully to praise for God’s grace and healing in lives; and they listen gratefully to requests for prayer for Dordt College and its students.
“These students are pulled out of their sometimes close and comfortable life on campus by these requests and begin to feel part of a broader hurting, but saved and redeemed community,” says Mellema. “They come to better understand the people whose support helps make their education possible.”
Mellema began the thank-you calls after she received such a call from another organization. “I kept expecting the next part—a request for another gift.” Instead she had a short conversation with the caller and was better able to see an organization with a mission, not just a caller asking for money. Mellema is conscious that such efforts could be used as a fund-raising gimmick, and she won’t deny the importance of the financial support of its constituents. But she also knows the college needs more than financial support and that the Christian community is strengthened as its members work together and care about one another.
One request particularly touched callers recently—thanks for a conversation that made an elderly woman’s long evening less lonely. Such conversations help students feel part of something that is bigger than their daily lives.