THUNDER BAY – HEALTH –For many donors, giving a donation to an organization such as the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation is a very personal decision. They want to understand where their donation is going, how it will help, and really, what the Foundation is all about. Donor Relations Specialists are there to answer all those questions and more, providing donors with an excellent picture of the ways they are improving patient care every day – all during the course of a friendly chat.
“I can’t tell you how many people call in to make a donation or ask a question, and they’re surprised to hear a live voice,” Lorna said. “We can assist them directly instead of putting them on hold and transferring them to someone else.”
“We can confidently answer most of their questions ourselves,” Deborah added. “It’s an added touch I think donors really appreciate.”
Every workplace has that social spot where people gather to swap water cooler stories. The Health Sciences Foundation Donation Centre, conveniently located right next to Robin’s Donuts, is one of those water coolers – and it makes all the difference to Donor Relations Specialists Lorna MacAskill and Deborah Kostick.
“We strongly believe in ‘the door’s always open’ philosophy, here at the Foundation,” Lorna said. “We love the interaction with donors, staff, and everyone who comes to the Donation Centre.”
“We talk fishing, we talk travel, we talk weather – it’s a great part of our job,” Deborah said. The candy basket on the counter helps too. “People stop in often to purchase some chocolate, share news, and ask questions about ongoing raffles and current fundraising initiatives.” (100% of the proceeds of chocolate sales support the care patients receive here at home – Courtesy of Sandy, Mary, Elizabeth and Mario Nucci.)
Deborah and Lorna are also responsible for selling various raffle tickets in support of the Foundation, providing information to event participants and signing them up, and even helping visitors to the Health Sciences Centre with wayfinding. The two are also responsible for memorial giving as well as the First Marks Club to celebrate the birth of a child. As if that’s not enough to keep them busy, Deborah and Lorna support other Health Sciences Foundation staff members by providing administrative and donor relations support in all areas including planned giving, campaigns, and large donations, as well as accepting in-person donations.
“The biggest message that we hear from the donors is that they want to help somebody else. They want to give back,” Deborah said.
It’s an emotion they both feel as well. After all, a big part of their job is thanking and giving back to the donors.
“The donors really make our day, and not just because of their generous and giving natures,” Deborah said. “It’s nice when we get to know them on a first-name basis.”
“We’ve developed lots of those relationships – they mean so much to us. As important as their gifts are to helping improve healthcare, they’re more than donors to us,” Lorna said.
Lorna and Deborah invite everyone to drop by for a chat, a chocolate, or for more information about the Health Sciences Foundation. The Donation Centre is open Monday to Friday except holidays from 9:00am to 5:00pm. You can also call (807) 345-HOPE (4673) or visit the website at www.healthsciencesfoundation.ca to make a donation, email a request for more information, or to find out more about the Foundation.