Last spring, I learned one of the hardest lessons of my life: When all is said and done, err on the side of compassion. Tough-as-nails business people may not agree with me, and that’s okay. I don’t want to be a tough-as-nails business person. “Err on the side of compassion!” This is a mantra that I’ve adopted and it influences me in all areas of my life. Repeating it helps me battle my urge to err on the side of caution, to hide behind policy, and to play it safe. No, I will err on the side of compassion fiercly and without apology. Here’s why.
In my role as development director at Cancer Services, I oversee our fundraising events. One of those events is Lapper, our annual walk. Participants who raise $25 by a certain date, receive a t-shirt. Last year, a Cancer Services’ client walked into our office AFTER the deadline with an envelope full of money and wanted to know when she would receive her t-shirt. I explained our policy: only those who turned in their money before the deadline received one. The client became upset, but I held my ground. No, she simply couldn’t have a t-shirt because she’d missed the deadline. As her emotions escalated, I stood on my soapbox and continued to explain the policy. She walked away angry, hurt, and defeated. On my way back to my office, my boss called me into her office and said, “Amber, I understand that we have a policy in place to manage our fundraiser, but that woman is dealing with a health crisis that neither of us can fully understand. Today, you’ve made her life more difficult. It’s just a t-shirt.”
In that moment, tears welled up in my eyes and I felt ashamed. I hid behind policy and failed to show compassion- a key ingredient to our very mission… a key ingredient to the very mission of my life: help others, serve others and make the world a better place.
I will never forget the lesson I learned that day. There’s a time and a place for policy and there’s a time and a place to show compassion. I will always be okay erring on the side of compassion.
In December, my friend Randy Clark with TKO Graphix reached out to me to ask a few questions for a blog he was writing on philanthropy. By the end of the conversation, I had agreed to write the post, and I am so glad that I did. Thanks for the opportunity!
Since joining the team at Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana in Fort Wayne as the Director of Development & Marketing, I’ve been endlessly amazed by the generosity of individuals in my community. Thirty-seven percent of our total budget comes from individual…
I am committed to the 2012 Polar Plunge to benefit The Special Olympics of Allen County on February 11, 2012. I’d love for you to join my team.
Each team member has to raise $75 in order to participate. The day of the event, which will be held at Parkview Field, we will literally take the plunge into freezing water together, all for a good cause. There are also team competitions, so we can get crazy with our outfits and our fundraising. I hope some of you will join me. Please get in touch with me via email at email@example.com, if interested.