One of Sandra’s favourite perks of her Grant and Bequest Officer role is the time that she spends with people.
She normally meets regularly with donors and shows them what their generously donated funds go towards; how it benefits the clients, residents and volunteers of VMCH.
“One of the best parts of my job is the conversations I have with people, who believe in and want to support the work of VMCH enough to donate or leave a gift in their Will to us,” says Sandra.
“I love when I get to meet our donors, and I am able to thank them, and they share their experiences and stories with me. It makes my work so incredibly meaningful when I especially hear stories of how they have been connected to VMCH and when they started to support us.
“I hear stories from people who were students at St Paul’s College over 40 years ago. I talk to parents who currently have children at St Paul’s College or people who had mothers and fathers who were cared for at one of our aged care residences. They may receive our care in their home or are mothers and fathers who have adult children with disability who are being cared for by our services. I also often talk with our dedicated staff and volunteers.”
When COVID-19 restrictions came into place, Sandra began to work from home. However, due to these restrictions, it also meant that many of the planned events for donors and home visits had to be put on hold. While Sandra was fine to work from home, she found her thoughts gravitating towards our older donors, and those being supported by disability services.
“Isolation and not being able to see your loved ones are a lot worse for many of the people we support,” said Sandra.
“I felt for many parents when St Paul’s College was closed (prior to the school holidays). At the start, I thought it was only going to be for a few days or maybe weeks. After the full realisation of how long this would go for, it made me more focused to continue my phone contact with our donors and supporters to just ask how they are and make sure that they are ok.”
Sandra started to make calls to our bequestors, donors and supporters who are older, or on their own. She regularly calls to ensure they are ok and to let them know that someone is thinking of them during this period.
“It is important to always thank and acknowledge people. For me it’s important to check in on those I have come to know and have built relationships with. It is important to let people know that they are not alone.
“Everyone I speak to is very appreciative of the call. They always have time to talk about all sorts of things and are all grateful for the support they are receiving from their families, services and their community.
“There are lots of good stories of neighbours dropping off food, people calling and lots to be thankful for.”
Sandra says that while she is the one doing the check-ins, she finds that she is the one continually being offered support. She says this is typical of our ‘silent generation’ and ‘Baby Boomers’.
“They always ask me how I am and what VMCH is doing. For many, the organisation has changed since they first started supporting us, but they know why, and so they continue to support us. So, it’s not hard to offer support and show you care back.”
During the current pandemic crisis, Sandra says her main priority is fast-tracking the implementation of the VMCH ‘In Touch’ program.
“This appeal, which has been running since April 2019, is now timelier than ever. The In Touch project will give our aged care residents support to connect with families and explore opportunities that modern technology gives us, but that is often out of reach for our residents.
“We wouldn’t be able to implement such a great program without the support of our many generous donors.”