In the classic holiday film It’s a Wonderful Life, every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings. At Bottomless Closet, every time a bell rings, one of our clients has gotten the job!
This small but valuable addition to our client experience was the direct result of a Brag & Steal session at a past ACDN conference (one of the many benefits of membership!). When we heard about WHW’s Bell of Success, we thought, “What a great way to celebrate a client’s accomplishment!”
At Bottomless Closet, we see clients for at least two appointments: pre-interview appointments that prepare women for their upcoming interview through outfitting, coaching and resume revision, and post-hire appointments for clients who have become employed and need additional outfits to carry them through the work week until the paychecks start coming in. We placed our own “bell of success” in the front of our office and now ask each post-hire client to ring that bell before her appointment begins so that we can all celebrate her accomplishment. We cheer, we applaud, and we recognize the efforts that have taken her one step closer to self-sufficiency!
We anticipated that in ringing the bell, the client would feel empowered and celebrated in her accomplishment – which has proven to be true. But the effects of hearing the bell ring in the office have reached further than we could have imagined.
Pre-interview clients who await their appointment curiously ask, “Why is she ringing that bell?” When they learn it is because another client has gotten a job, they see hope, maybe for the first time. It is not uncommon for a pre-interview client to say after her appointment, “I'm going to be ringing that bell soon!”
For our volunteers, the bell reinforces the critical work they do here. No matter where they are in the office, whether in the boutique or in the back room sorting inventory, the bell’s sound reaches them and they know they are making a positive impact in our clients’ lives. The effect of hearing the bell is similar for the staff. Even as we are busily plugging away in our offices, we are able to enjoy the auditory reminder that lives are changed for the better through the work done at Bottomless Closet.
Lastly, it is not uncommon for potential volunteers, donors dropping off clothing, or corporate volunteer groups to be at our office on any given day. I always know that if they happen to be here when that bell starts to ring, they are going to be hooked!
So thank you WHW for your fabulous idea, and thank you ACDN for providing a forum at our conference to steal such a gem!
Contributed by Stacey McFadin, Director of Volunteerism and Partnerships at Bottomless Closet.