Lately, it seems like my inbox has been filled with year-end requests for donations from organizations I’ve donated to in the past, or ones whose websites I’ve frequented. Some of them have been coming pretty frequently and I’m going to probably unsubscribe now, but others have made me think about sending a few dollars their way.
It also made me think: maybe I should do something like that for Them Days.
I won’t spam your inbox or hit you over the head with all this stuff, but I’d just like to let you know that your support makes a difference in a few different ways. With every donation, you’re contributing to our efforts to documenting and preserving Labrador’s cultural heritage. So thank you for all your donations in this past year, and all years previous, too.
When you donate to Them Days:
- You help keep the lights on, our driveway ploughed, and our archive operating at professional standards. Most grants that we apply to will only go towards specific projects, and absolutely not towards any operating expenses. We are fortunate in that we apply to and avail of an operating grant from the provincial government every year that we can use for operating expenses and staff wages, but as you can imagine, it’s not meant to cover all our expenses, and it doesn’t. And we can’t work in the dark, or work under mountains of snow, or without insurance. You’re helping keep our archive climate-controlled and fire-safe too, because those systems require electricity and routine checks and maintenance.
- You help employ people in our community to do good work. We have two regular staff members (an editor who makes the magazine and who’s also in charge of the archives, and an archive technician-administrator) with help from others throughout the year: summer students, contract workers, people hired under employment programs like Linkages. We apply for grants for these other workers (because we don’t have enough money to hire them by ourselves), but those programs don’t necessarily cover all the wages. So your donation goes straight to supplement those wage subsidies so we can hire people complete all the work we do. Our workers interview seniors and knowledge holders, transcribe interviews, edit things for the magazine, research history, help you find things in the archives, describe archival files so we know where and how to find things, digitize photos and audio, put archival materials in safe storage, organize community events and more. Basically, without your donation, we couldn’t do the work we do.
- You help us get more project grants. Most of the money we use to get things done around here come from grants, either from places like the federal or provincial governments or private foundations like the International Grenfell Association. But when we apply to them, we need to prove that we are contributing a certain amount of money too–or even that we get a certain percentage of our funds from non-government revenue. It’s all part of applying for money when you’re a charitable organization. So when you donate, you’re helping us show that we have support from our community, that others think our work is valuable and worth supporting–and that helps them decide that they want to help too. You’ve heard the phrase “You need money to make money”? Same thing applies in the non-profit sector–the more successful you are in getting money, the more money you tend to get. The only difference is we don’t profit–it is all used for our programming!
- You help us buy necessary equipment or supplies. Archival storage doesn’t come cheap. (Our acid- and lignin-free file folders are $60.95 for a pack of 100–do you know how many filing cabinets of documents we have? Or how about $43.00 for a binder to protect our 6000+ slides and counting–not including the holders we put in them.) These are necessary for safe long-term storage of the treasures we hold at Them Days. This article about an archives in Texas is a great description of archival preservation and conservation work. (And if you’ve ever seen a photo fade, a piece of paper crumble, or a diary go mouldy, you’ll know exactly why this is all important.)
Basically, if you’ve ever been touched by a story you read in the magazine, had your breath taken away when you’ve seen a picture of your grandparents for the first time, connected with family, helped your child with a heritage fair project, read a story from our magazine to your parent or child, cooked a recipe from our cookbook, learned about traditional medicines, or even just enjoyed traditional music or food at our events–you’ve experienced first-hand what a donation can do here at Them Days. Our magazine, our archives, our special projects like #IDThemDays–it’s all made possible by donations and grants.
So please, when you’re thinking about making a donation somewhere, think of us. We do our best to make sure your money is well-spent and makes a difference to the communities we serve.
This also goes for when you buy our products too–you’re helping support our operations that way, too–so give a calendar as a gift next year, or buy a subscription for that relative living away. Or consider buying a subscription for a school or public library and support two special places as once!
Thank you for all your support–it is genuinely appreciated and very useful to us.