Skip to main content

From Teaching to the ENF

by Hannah Jones
Donor Services Assistant

Hi all! My name is Hannah Jones, and I am the new Donor Services Assistant at the Elks National Foundation. I joined the Foundation in mid-July, so I’ve been immersed in this world for over two months now, and wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to introduce myself to Elkdom at large.

In case you’re wondering what a Donor Services Assistant actually does, I’ll allow you a quick glimpse into my modest yet surprisingly colorful cubicle to find out.

Usually a significant chunk of my day is spent talking to Elks from all over the country on the phone to answer different questions, especially questions related to donations and recognition. I help Lodge ENF Fundraising Chairs and Secretaries navigate our website, understand reports and standings, and explain how our donations are processed.

I also spend a lot of time reaching out to Lodge Chairs when we receive remittances that don’t balance, don’t have a list of donors, or any number of other issues that might arise. (If you’re an ENF Fundraising Chair and you don’t want me to harass you by e-mail about remittance issues, I’d be happy to direct you to some educational resources to make sure you don’t ever have to hear from me!) Today, for example, I’ve been processing an adjustment for a check that was sent in this past May without any donor information. After some communication with the Lodge Chair, I am fixing that donation so that all 850 donors get credit. It takes quite a bit of time to make adjustments like these, but it’s so important to the Foundation that this level of generosity is acknowledged.

Most days, I work on our bank’s website to download financial information for donation processing. Once a week, I send out acknowledgment letters, which I periodically edit to include the most up-to-date information on the Foundation. Once a month, I prepare recognition—the pins and certificates that show our gratitude for the continued support of our donors. The role of Donor Services Assistant is a grab-bag of responsibilities, but it’s teaching me a lot about the behind-the-scenes work at a non-profit.

This kind of exposure to non-profit work is extremely important to me, because up until this past summer, I had been working in a middle school in New Orleans as an English teacher. I’m fairly certain the two positions could not be more different. First of all, as the early fall weather rolls in and cools off the city of Chicago, I’m already beginning to brace myself for the cold, harsh winter that I know is in store after getting quite used to the swampy subtropics of southeastern Louisiana. Even more important, while I grew quite accustomed to spending my days attempting to get angst-driven pre-teens to read literature, I now get to converse with a much friendlier and significantly more mature clientele, who are motivated and well-aligned with the Foundation’s mission. Cajoling into action and breaking up fights are two skills that I no longer have to exercise on a daily basis! At least not yet.

The best and most unexpected part of this work so far has been discovering the immensely caring and familial world of the Elks. I’ll admit, before I started working at the Foundation, I didn’t know that much about the Elks. There was an Elks Lodge in my New Jersey hometown (Ridgewood, N.J., Lodge No. 1455), which I passed frequently, but not once did I pass the threshold and walk inside to uncover what the Elks are really about. Now I get to learn more and more about the great heart of Elkdom every day. Nothing has been more surprising than realizing the immense philanthropic power and the mighty force of change that Elks wield in communities all over the country.

I want to thank everyone that I’ve talked to so far for welcoming me with such open arms into the Elks Family. I hope I get the chance to get to know you and find more about the amazing things happening at your Lodge soon! I’m always just a phone call or email away.


Comments

Labels

Show more

Popular posts from this blog

Finding a Place in the #ElksFamily

by Aleah Hahn, Most Valuable Student Scholar Aleah Hahn received a second place Most Valuable Student scholarship in 2018. She graduated from Michigan State University in 2021 with degrees in Biosystem Engineering and German. She is pursuing her master’s degree in Marine Resource Management at Oregon State. In her free time, she likes to cycle, forage and hike. Over my spring break I was able to partake in the 2022 Spring Elks Scholar Service Trip in Chicago! In 2018, I attended the 150 for 150 Service Trip in San Antonio, where we celebrated the Elks 150th anniversary through service. Both were amazing experiences to serve in the name of the Elks. They were alike but also different in many ways.  In San Antonio, I connected with Elks state leadership from my home state of Michigan since the trip was at the Elks National Convention!  I served with 149 other scholars and met many of them. It was a great opportunity to connect with other scholars. The majority of our service was at Haven

What is Zoom?

by Jim O'Kelley Director, Elks National Foundation Zoom--It's like the Brady Bunch , but without Jan. (This is the first in a series of articles about the need for Lodges to be relevant during the pandemic. To find all posts in the series, click here: #StaySafeBeRelevant .) Every crisis seems to have its breakout star. This one has two, so far—Dr. Fauci and Zoom. If you’re not familiar, Zoom is a remote video-conferencing tool with a free basic package. In these days of social distancing and sheltering in place, Zoom is also a godsend. At the O’Kelley household today, we had three concurrent Zoom meetings going on at one point—Meghan, me, and Jane with her Panda Room preschool pals. In our new teleworking reality, the ENF staff has been using Zoom through Microsoft Teams for check-ins, standing meetings and impromptu discussions. These conferences have helped us stay connected and feel like we’re part of a team despite our isolation. A couple of we

Where has the SAB Bean? Chicago!

by Colleen Conrad, Scholarships Manager The Elks Scholar Advisory Board (SAB) is a group of Elks scholars—current and alumni—who advise the ENF on its scholar relation efforts. When I presented the idea of getting together in Chicago for our first in-person Scholar Advisory Board meeting in two years, I was prepared for some trepidation. It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench in traveling and gathering for everyone, and finding time during the busy fall semester for our scholars is always difficult. However, the response I received from our SAB was an overwhelming, enthusiastic “yes!”  That enthusiasm never dissipated throughout our whirlwind SAB weekend together at the start of November. Eight of the 10 2021-22 SAB members visited the Elks National Memorial and Headquarters, participated in some fun bonding activities, explored Chicago, and of course, put in some real work during the day-long board meeting. “While I’ve never been to an in-person SAB me