MSAA: Publications - The Motivator: Winter/Spring 2011 - Thoughts about Giving
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Home > MSAA Publications > The Motivator > The Motivator: Winter/Spring 2011 > Thoughts about Giving
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Thoughts about Giving

Getting to Know Each Other

Ideally, MSAA would like to be on speaking terms with every donor who, by making a gift, has demonstrated an interest in our mission to help people with MS.

The reality is more fortunate than ideal. Each year tens of thousands of donors send voluntary gifts that support MSAA's programs and services. We need and value that support to ensure our mission is fulfilled without interruption or restriction. The volume is especially important because MSAA was built on - and thrives on - many gifts from many donors rather than sustaining grants or whopping gifts from a few. (Although luckily, we receive some larger gifts as well.) The result of so many smaller gifts is a collective mass of donors. Welcome as it is, this prevents us from getting to know individual donors as personally as we'd like.

So we remain curious about what attracts a donor to MSAA. If we could talk to every donor, we could learn whether a family member or a friend faces the challenges of this unpredictable disease. We could find out whether awareness of MS's devastating potential triggers compassion and motivates people to do their part in enriching the quality of life for others. We could also benefit from a dialogue with people whose lives may have been touched directly by MSAA and who contribute because they know about our services firsthand.

There's so much to know and limited time in a day to learn it. But we're trying!

Like the teacher in "The King and I," MSAA works harder and harder towards "getting to know you."

Each day, calls expressing gratitude go out to people whose continuing generosity has attracted our attention. We hope these calls will reveal some of the information described earlier. We also hope that these conversations will take us further towards building a genuine relationship with donors so we not only know why people make gifts, but also know the outcome they expect from their support. We hope that through such conversations, we can learn how we can meaningfully keep donors informed about the life-changing impact of all that MSAA does.

Relationships are what MSAA strives to have. Our name says we are an "Association," and we want donors to feel a part of the MSAA family, to be an active participant in a dialogue that can only make MSAA stronger and make us better stewards of a donor's gifts.

"Getting to know you" means using the telephone and sending personally written cards to say "thanks." So please don't be wary if someone calls and begins the conversation by saying, "I'm from MSAA." We are calling because we are proud and grateful to have you on our team. We hope you are also proud about your role in enriching the quality of life for individuals affected by a chronic disease.

The Need for Cooling Equipment

As spring approaches, the demand for MSAA's cooling equipment increases... markedly.

Cooling relieves heat-related fatigue that often prevents individuals with MS from participating in outdoor activities in warm weather. Its benefits go further than helping alleviate fatigue and other symptoms of overheating. Cooling also enriches family life by allowing someone affected by heat to attend picnics, sporting events, concerts, weddings, and other occasions that take place outdoors, warding off isolation that comes from "just not being able to go." Individuals benefit from being able to take walks or garden or just relax in the sunshine without having to worry about wilting in the heat.

Increased demand means increased inventory. The cooling vests and ice packs that do so much good cost MSAA about $126 per set. It would be great if interested donors pitched in to make sure supplies are plentiful. A gift of $126, or any contribution towards the cooling inventory would be greatly welcome, especially during this time of year.

Donors can send their tax-deductible gifts to MSAA Cooling, 375 Kings Highway North, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034 and make checks payable to "MSAA." These gifts will help make cooling a breeze.

Hearing from donors on a regular basis would lead to the ideal we want to establish. Call me at (800) 532-7667, extension 128, or email me at and tell me about your interest in MS and MSAA. Ask questions. We have answers, and we have so much to learn from each other.

Let's associate. Let's get to know each other better. The result will be a greater affinity with an organization you support and a better understanding about how MSAA uses your gifts to support a mission that directly benefited tens of thousands of people last year.

The true ideal is to tailor a program that lets each donor decide when and how to be asked for support. The resulting relationships would ensure that MSAA could be there as long as it's needed to enrich the safety, mobility, comfort, convenience, security, and dignity of everyone affected by MS. Maybe if we start talking or writing to each other, the ideal could become a reality. I look forward to those calls and emails.

MSAA's $100,000 Online Challenge to Help Individuals with MS

So an idea is broached at a meeting, and everyone is intrigued.

The idea is to help MSAA expand its work by having a $100,000 online challenge on our website at, between now and June 30 when our 2011 fiscal year ends.While intriguing, we all wondered, could we reach a goal of $100,000 in time?

I believe that testing the waters is preferable to saying "no" to oneself. So, I'd like to propose the challenge to the readers of this column. More than 12,000 donors receive our magazine, The Motivator. If each donor who receives this magazine went online and made a gift of $8.50, the $100,000 would be reached. Given that not everyone might venture online and perhaps some may miss this part of the article, gifts of two, three, or more times the amount ($17, $25.50, $34, etc.) will help take up the slack. And nothing stops our other readers from joining in!

What do you say? Shall we give it a go? Please help me to get the ball rolling by going to and making a gift of $8.50 or more. If you are able, a gift of $85, which is ten times the initial amount, would really help us to reach our goal! I will get things started by making my own personal donation of $85. But please know that whatever amount you can give - whether large or small - will be of great help to support our urgent mission to enrich the quality of life for everyone affected by MS.

For anyone who prefers not to contribute online, payments may also be mailed to MSAA at 375 Kings Highway North, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034. Gifts are also gratefully accepted over the phone at (800) 532-7667, extension 128.

Thank you so much! Your compassion and generosity are enormously appreciated by MSAA and members of the MS community.

- Neal Zoren
MSAA Director of Development


The following thoughtful corporations and foundations have contributed generously to MSAA to help enrich the quality of life for everyone affected by multiple sclerosis. Organizations providing gifts of $10,000 or more are shown in this listing.

GUARANTORS ($500,000 and up)
EMD Serono, Inc. and Pfizer Inc
Teva Neuroscience

CHAMPIONS ($100,000 to 499,999)
Acorda Therapeutics
Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals
Bayer USA Foundation
Biogen Idec
Genentech Foundation
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
VISIONARIES ($50,000 to $99,999)
Genentech, Inc.

INNOVATORS ($25,000 to $49,999)
Medtronic Foundation

ADVOCATES ($10,000 to $24,999)
Avanir Pharmaceuticals
Catholic Human Services Foundation
The Chatlos Foundation
Grand Lodge Daughters of Scotia
The Ronda Gruber Foundation
The Virginia Dashiell Foundation


Last Updated on Monday, 22 June 2015 10:52