Dancing Feet

Custom Thank You: There’s nothing better than saying thank you to wonderful supporters. Customized letters for loyal donors get to the heart of why giving matters. Each one is a story of lives transformed and hope for the future. And each one includes readers in the celebration.

Teresia Gabriel (above center and below left) enjoys time with friends at the Lagosa Secondary School in western Tanzania thanks to a new dorm built with donor support. “We have the freedom to study together.” © Roshni Lodhia

Dancing Feet
“Teresia Gabriel is dancing, a wide smile breaking across her face as she steps and slides, taps and twirls, her white stockinged feet moving easily across the shiny new dormitory floor. Her classmates sit in a close circle, all of them in the same matching white socks, keeping rhythm, chanting and cheering, their shouts of glee rising and falling, a song of triumph.”

This custom thank you letter for Africa supporters begins with dancing—with schoolgirls in northern Tanzania who are celebrating new beginnings. It’s a celebration made possible thanks to supporters who understand that helping girls flourish is good for communities and conservation.  The letter explains that Teresia once spent hours every day walking, “nearly 8 miles each way—to and from school. When she returned home, she helped with chores  and meals, working until nightfall, leaving barely any time for study—never mind dancing. But every morning, she rose with the sun and set out again, sometimes kicking up clouds of dust, sometimes slogging through mud, determined to be at her desk.

“Today, Teresia no longer faces the daunting journey to school—she simply walks the short distance from her dorm to the classroom. She also has two hot meals a day, a crisp uniform, and plenty of time to study. And she has something else—aspiration and goals. A vision for her own future. Which is good news for the future of nature, too.”

The letter ends as it began—with dancing—and an includes donors in the celebration: “We hope you can hear the cheering. We hope you can see the smiles. Most of all, we hope you can feel the gratitude—and that you’ll join the celebration. Here’s to the power of generosity and lives transformed. Here’s to dancing feet!”

Love for nature, for our planet, for our future— the best messages are often the simplest.  © Roshni Lodhia

Peace. Joy. Love.
During one holiday season, we sent a postcard to donors featuring three simple words: “Peace. Joy. Love.” On the back was a short note with a big message—our heartfelt thanks.

We started with a quote from professor, poet, and birdwatcher J. Drew Lanham: Conservation is ultimately an act of love.  Then we explained to readers why we agree. “During this time of year, when we are counting our blessings, we find ourselves more grateful than ever for your support, for your commitment to conservation. Thank you for loving nature enough to help save it for others.”

And we ended with this wish for the season—and for our world: “Here’s to peace, to joy, and, especially, to love—for nature, for our planet, for our future.” Sometimes that’s all it takes—a few words of thanks sent along at just the right time to let supporters know how much they’re appreciated.