The Pitfalls of Profile

To the Editor

All organizations have to consider their “profile.” Profile is how people view us. Do they know what we do? Do they understand the issues our clients deal with? Do they know how we help and the impact we have?

The easiest way to get profile is to have the people who have been helped talk about it. First-hand accounts are very powerful. But talking about it only works if the issue they’ve had is one they want to talk about. It doesn’t work so well if the challenge they experienced and got help with isn’t one they want to talk openly about. Maybe it’s something that could affect how people perceive them; maybe it could affect their family or children; maybe it could affect employment or potential employment. So although they may express their appreciation to us they won’t be talking with their neighbours about their very personal struggles. Few people would hesitate to give a testimonial about how they were helped by the doctors or EMS services. But if they were helped to escape from an abusive situation by the YWCA or given food by SIRCH they may not be as eager to put their name out there. Understandably.

As a result organizations that deal with problems like food security mental health violence against women grief addictions often have lower profiles. SIRCH has throughout its 28 year history tackled some of the toughest and most hidden issues in this county. We built the first shelter for women in this community. We brought in mental health services. We initiated numerous anti-poverty programs. And we do get lots of testimonials. We know we impact lives in a really positive way … but as you can imagine the people giving them usually want to remain anonymous. And we always respect that.

Christine Bond recently wrote us. Along with her donation to Gifts from the Heart she gave us permission to use her testimony and name because she wanted to help others understand how important the Bereavement Program is:
“I could not have gone forward in my life if it hadn’t have been for SIRCH’s bereavement program. The facilitators are well trained and showed compassion caring and guidance at every step. I wasn’t really keen on group sharing but once I joined it was wonderful. All the other people were struggling just like myself. We all grew together in our journey and I made some wonderful friends who I try to see once a week even though we have completed our levels. They will stay my friends forever and it is all kept confidential. Thank you!”
The Bereavement Program is funded entirely on donations. When you are considering donating this holiday season please consider SIRCH. We may not have a high profile but our work changes lives.

Gena Robertson
SIRCH Community Services