Hi, my name is Kaila and I’m calling from the National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay. Is there a manager available that I can speak with?
At this point, I’ve memorized the precise words to say. I know exactly how to call a business, ask for the manager, intrigue them with a description of the Mermaid Ball, and then ask if they are interested in supporting us with a donation for our auction. If I’m lucky, I can even mention their previous year’s donation and see if they are interested in donating the same item again.
In any type of situation, asking people for favors can be uncomfortable. What if they get upset and say no? What if I accidently pressure them into saying yes when they really did not want to? These questions ran through my head the first day I started making phone calls for auction donations. My call list was diverse: jewelry stores, boutiques, restaurants, services, specialty stores. After making the first handful of calls, I realized my assigned task was nothing to fret about. When I started I did not give people the credit they deserved—People are much more willing to give than I ever predicted. The majority of businesses I call are friendly people that are happy to support our cause. They’ll probably ask for some more information, in which case I email them an event flyer and an auction item donation form. When I sound enthusiastic, am informative, and stay patient for a response, the results fall in my favor.
After hours of calling businesses and following my memorized script, it’s not uncommon for my energy to drop, regardless of how friendly people act. Ten emails and fifteen phone calls later, it becomes hard to recognize the progress I am making when only thinking about how much more I need to accomplish. On some days, my spirit is low and I become overwhelmed and nervous that I will not be able to pull in my share of auction items. This is when I take a break and remind myself about Monday night and why I love my internship.
Thank goodness for this past Monday night because my spirits have risen drastically! At 7:15pm on Monday, our seal Cilantro was released at Scusset Beach and returned to where he belongs. As I walked down the boardwalk towards the beach my eyes widened at the scene I saw. Against a breathtaking sunset, over 300 people were stretched out across the sand to watch Cilantro’s release. Seeing Cilantro seal-flop into the ocean (after a very reluctant fifteen minutes) was refreshingly beautiful. It made me remember why I desired this internship in the first place—to help animals get a second chance at living a life in the wild. Too often humans inflict pain on animals, the majority of the time through indirect action. Species are dropping like flies, pollution is emitted from almost every human action, and Earth truly needs our help if it wants a chance at surviving.
Now before I pick up my phone to make an auction item request, I think about Monday night. I think about Cilantro and how he’s swimming freely in the ocean with good health. I think about the six seal pups in our hospital and how the National Marine Life Center team is healing them and preparing them for a life at sea. I think about the enthusiastic children we educate in the Discovery Center and the adults who we’ve helped gain new perspectives. With every call I make, I am potentially bringing in an item that will help raise money at our auction. Our auction brings in a large majority of the Mermaid Ball’s profits. And the Mermaid Ball is our largest fundraiser that helps us do what we love. After looking at the big picture, each phone call contributes to the domino effect of rehabilitating seals. It no longer seems like a chore, but instead, a chance for me to further my goal of helping as many animals as possible achieve the life that they deserve.
If you would like to support the Mermaid Ball auction with the donation of an auction item, please click here and fill out the auction donation form, then pop the item in the mail or stop by a visit us at 120 Main Street, Buzzards Bay, MA. Any contribution would be appreciated, and you too can help seals like Cilantro return to the big blue!
Posted by Kaila F.
Kaila is a Summer, 2015 Marketing Intern with the National Marine Life Center. She is an Environmental Science Major at the University of Redlands in California.