Many families in need have contacted NanaFinds.com to ask for assistance in finding much needed donations of clothing items, school supplies, financial assistance with bills and rent, and birthday or Christmas gifts for their children. In turn, generous families who are in a position to help those less fortunate contact me in search of a family or two to help, usually at Christmas time. Because I cannot vouch for any of the families’ actual situations, it is difficult for donors to easily make a commitment to offer assistance.
These are desparate times for many and having the need to ask for assistance can be devastating in itself. In order for strangers to trust you, you must be able to offer references of those (not friends or family) that can substantiate your situation and vouch for your character. It is easy and relatively inexpensive to do background checks, so it is best to be honest – even if you think it would hurt your situation.
The Internet makes it convenient for donors to search for information on the families in need who are asking for assistance. One family that submitted a Christmas wish made a claim that the husband was disabled due to an explosion. A donor found the mother on Facebook with a public page. The comments substantiated the fact that she was looking for work and it also had photos of her kids and husband. Her husband’s injured hand could be seen in one of the photos. The problem was that the photos showed a very sloppy house full of clutter. The fact that the mother advertised that she would watch children in her home (in such disarray) also had a negative effect, showing poor judgment on her part. The potential donor decided to backout.
Last year, a mother submitted a very impressive Christmas wish for her son. A potential donor contacted me when she had read her story. I gave her the mother’s contact information (with permission). After emailing back and forth with the mother a few times, the potential donor did a “google” search using the woman’s name and address. The search turned up a photo with a report that she had been arrested for petit theft a few months earlier. The donor had told me that if the woman had been completely honest with her, she probably would have helped her. But, because she wasn’t, she declined her offer.
Honesty is the best policy. Be honest, be open, be careful. Present yourself in the best, honest way you can. First impressions are very important, but your character is the most important and it usually comes through (negative or positive).
One last offer of advice: Never ask for money. Present a wish list of practical needs and a few toys or games that aren’t expensive – especially if you have more than a couple of children.