Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner: The Donor Love Lift


“I’m gonna do my kind of dancin’ with a great partner, who’s not only a terrific dancer, but somebody who’s taught me that there are people willing to stand up for other people no matter what it costs them. Somebody who’s taught me about the kind of person I wanna be.”

She just carried a watermelon, but Johnny Castle took Ms. Frances Houseman out of the corner and helped her fly.

It likely comes as no surprise, as a child of the 80s, that Dirty Dancing is one of my not-so-secret guilty pleasures. When I was just little (3 or 4?), my mom had a copy of the movie on VHS and used to play it on a regular basis while she was doing her morning chores. To this day, when Baby nods at Johnny and makes her leap for the lift, I burst into joyful, ridiculous, clapping, laughing tears. It’s frightfully unbecoming. (Even as I’m writing this, just thinking about it makes me watery-eyed. I know. It’s messed up. Even more entertaining is watching it with my older brother, who has basically the same reaction.)

Even as a child, I identified with Baby. Plain. Kind-hearted. Generous. “The Smart One.” Content with corners (though no one ever put me in one, unless you count the times my brothers stuffed me in a closet.) A strong sense of fairness and an ability to see the good in everyone. Fairly decent at carrying large fruits.

I think a lot of donors feel similarly. Just a regular gal (or guy) with a kind heart, bringing a melon to the party. No one gives $25, $50, $100, or even $1000 and expects a parade or lap dance from a hunky dude in unnaturally high-waisted pants. That’s not why people give. We give because it feels good, and years of giving with little more than a receipt and a canned letter have trained most of us to be content with corners. And unless we’re treated REALLY poorly, we keep giving because we believe it’s important. We just might not always carry our melon to the same party.

And so it goes.

But there is a lot more to the donor experience than this.

This is where the Donor Love Lift comes in.

It is the surprise of receiving a hand-written thank you letter or phone call.

It is the joy of seeing how your gifts are truly making a difference.

It is the sensation of feeling like a capable, equal partner in something much bigger than yourself.

It is the empowerment of being recognized for your contribution.

No one needed to give you these gifts, but your life changes when you receive them.

And suddenly, it’s about a lot more than watermelons, isn’t it?

This is what Donor Love is all about. Because at the end of the day, it’s about a lot more than money. It’s about building meaningful relationships. It’s about meeting the donor exactly where she is (and not where we want her to be.) It’s about showing each and every person with a willing heart that not only do they have the capacity to give, but they have the capacity it make a difference.

And yes, actually, it WILL make you more money.

But the Frances Houseman in me will always lean to the side of generosity, kindness, and belief in the human spirit.

And the Johnny Castle in me knows it’s about the feeling… the heartbeat. It’s about the lift.

This is why I’m excited to see so much #DonorLove coming through in the work I’m doing with organisations, and the work others are doing. I feel a sense of camaraderie with those who, like me, can hear the heartbeat, and want to share it with others.

And I hope you’ll join us in celebrating this lift.

If you are passionate about #DonorLove, and want the chance to receive a bursary for the SOLD OUT #DonorLove Rendezvous on May 11 in Toronto – you can apply here.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some seal-clap-crying to do.