A gift from donors to start your week

I just spent a few delightful hours reading comments from donors in the 2013 Cygnus Donor Survey. With 31,000 Americans and Canadians participating this year, I could have filled up several days scanning what they had to say about philanthropy, fundraising and the not-for-profits they love.

But as my colleagues in fundraising know perhaps better than anyone, everything is better when it’s shared. So, here are just a few of donors’ wonderful insights. If you have a tough week ahead of you, this will ease your load. If you’re enjoying one of those rare times when everything is going well, this will add to your pleasure.

There’s no doubt about it. I have the best job in fundraising.

To me, giving is an expression of fearlessness, releasing me from self-centeredness. Generosity is my grateful response to all that I have received.

I love being invited to volunteer for the organizations I support, to make a more personal connection in addition to the connection I already feel to the cause through giving.

Even though my giving is modest, it represents a financial sacrifice for me.  It’s important to me to support organizations I strongly believe in, even if I can only give an amount that probably won’t make much of a difference.

Everyone who can give should.  More people should volunteer, also.  It is so good for a person’s health to be a volunteer and to know they are needed.

Volunteering has changed my life for the better. I definitely feel that I am valued and I do very important work that has opened my eyes to families, single Moms, children & sick people. I have become less judgmental and more patient because I volunteer.

I feel a moral obligation to contribute to programs that assist those in need, even if it means temporarily going without myself. We should all be in this together — to give our fair share to the best of our ability to ease the burden of those with less, and/or to provide even a modicum of hope to ensure a better future for all of us.

Giving is a habit that needs to be modeled for us when we are very young, practiced and improved as we live our lives, and encouraged in our children.  Nothing satisfies me more as a mom than seeing my own kids get involved in causes they care about – especially when I care about them too.

Giving is something that, for me, is done with no expectation of anything in return.  A simple thank you is more than enough.

Giving to not-for-profits I admire is one of the most satisfying aspects of my life.

Philanthropy is about caring for others over caring about myself. Some people are motivated by the tax deduction, I suppose, but I think that they are missing the real meaning of giving.

Giving financially is only one way of supporting what I believe in….I give when I can, but I volunteer a lot of hours to non-profit organizations I believe in. To me, this is the essence of giving back to our society — to make it, and the world, a better place.

I actually enjoy giving generously to organizations that need my money and/or my skills in order to reach a goal that both I and they believe in. I give until it feels good!

I actually gave more money last year than I realized…and often more than I could afford. I don’t regret it, though. I would like to give even more if I could.

I am blessed in so many ways; helping others that are less fortunate is just the right thing to do.

I give more than I can actually afford to the causes that I support, because they are worth it.
I definitely do like the interruption of phone calls asking for donations. I will joyfully give when I see the need and have the means to do so!

I am so appreciative when I get a thank-you letter signed by a real person in the organization and when the letter makes it clear they are aware that I am someone who supports them as a donor. It’s very special when that happens.

Sometimes I feel taken for granted by not-for-profits that we have been supporting for a long time; so I was elated when someone called to express their gratitude for the gift I quietly make to them every month.

As governments move to withhold funds from not-for-profits that do legitimate advocacy work, it becomes even more important for me to step up and support them.

As a young professional, I am looking for not-for-profits that I can engage with and grow with in more than one way. I especially appreciate the ones that want more than just my money. The ones that also value my participation are rare, but those that do get my support.

I like interacting with other donors who are passionate about an issue or an organization. I find that being around like-minded people always gets me re-engaged. There’s just nothing like being in a room full of other supporters.

I am humbled when I see the generosity of other parents at my child’s school. It makes me feel I should be doing more. It’s easy for me to think, “I can’t afford to give X dollars”as I head off to see a movie or buy a luxury item at a store. Other donors’ generosity reminds me of what my own priorities should be.

Charities promising real change and not just addressing immediate problems get my more generous support. While I know that feeding one child is great, helping a community solve the problems that caused the child to be starving in the first place is even more important.

Someone once told me that giving and volunteering are the price one pays for living in a capitalist society; but I wish I lived in a “giving economy” where everyone’s status was based on the good they do for others.


Showing 2 comments
  • GrahamH

    Loved the comment that “giving is a habit that needs to be modeled for us when we are very young, practiced and improved as we live our lives, and encouraged in our children.”. Or put another way, that’s a donor/volunteer who recognises that giving is not just about *their* time and money, but also about encouraging a rewarding habit in the next generation. Now that’s a different kind of endowment; perpetual family philanthropy!

  • Tom Struthers

    I will refer to these prior to the task of letter writing to gain confidence in those readers and address their motives for good. Thanks for sharing

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