#18 Amidst the border crisis, a lesson for us donors

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

June 20, 2018 – I had a whole new blog and newsletter ready to release and distribute this week, but most other media out there is feeling distant and frivolous among the daily unraveling of stories about the separation of children and their families on the southern US border. 

I am certainly not the first person to maintain adamantly that this is not a political issue; it’s a humanitarian issues. I think Michelle Obama’s retweet of Laura Bush’s OpEd (which is worth a read too) sums that up most poignantly. 

I also am not remotely an expert in most of what’s happening down there: not in politics, not in policy, not in child psychology, not in international human rights. But, as is likely the case with you, I remain appalled. 

By this point you know all the calls to action – to write and call your senators and representatives, sign petitions and donate. 

Where I saw some new insight though was in my friend Jessica’s recent facebook post about donating. 

What she shares below is a lesson for all donors at all times: as I noted above, very rarely are we the experts. While we may care deeply and while we may try to be as intentional as possible with where we give our money, the fewer restrictions we put on it (literally called unrestricted funding) the more agency the actual experts have in allocating it. And yes, sometimes that means your money is going to be spent on really unsexy things, like phone bills.

#18 Jessica's Post.png

Here is the full text of Jessica’s post. 

Don't send stuff, send money. I was tempted--I heard about a charity that wanted diapers, baby things we could definitely spare for children @ the border. It felt so tangible and satisfying.

And then I thought about the Development Associate, working overtime to process a surge in donations. The Accounting Director, putting in hours to make sure dollars were spent right. The Database Admin, keeping track of cases and donors and children. What if the printer breaks, or the website goes down? The case worker needs a new laptop?

So I gave money. And you should too.

I hope Jessica’s words can be a brief reminder for all of us to still, even in the most horrific of social crises, understand the strategic complexities and understand where we, as donors, fit into those. 

And to those of you who have gotten involved, through donating, signing, writing, calling, or other means, thank you.

We are in this together.