Every year in preparation for filing my taxes I list my donations from the previous year. This year I had an ‘ah ha’ moment when I realized that there was a wealth of information about my own donation patterns.
- With a few exceptions I leave the majority of my charitable giving to the end of the year. The nonprofits to which I donate focus on my personal areas of concern. I no longer write checks, with one exception – my yearly donation to the local Food Bank is solicited by a friend who sends a self-addressed envelope.
- I have become very sensitive to how easy it is to make my donations. I get frustrated when I have to jump through hoops to make the donation. But, I will admit that I don’t yank the donation because I had to fill-in a few extra fields.
- I no longer look for opportunities to give. I admit that I expect the nonprofits that I support to stay in touch with me throughout the year.
- I still open direct mail from organizations that support issues of concern and to whom I do not currently donate. On occasion I do add a new organization and usually continue to support them.
- Social media plays a role in my giving. And, yes, I do expect a thank you for my gift.
My end of the year donations are different from the nonprofits in which I’m fully involved as a board member or trustee. My expectations and responsibilities affect my giving patterns – the more I’m engaged, the more I give.
I recently had an ‘interesting’ experience with an organization with which I have a long standing relationship. I served on the board of trustees, chaired the marketing committee and served as the volunteer coordinator for a yearly lecture series for years.
I always gave beyond my membership dues and board obligations whenever I served on a committee. Then along came a new president who wanted to put her stamp on the organization. In her eyes that meant making changes as to who was asked to participate in projects.
No need to fill in the blanks here. Would anyone like to guess what happened to my donations?
My suggestion – treasure your donors. Find ways to keep them engaged. Empower those who want to be more involved.
Do you have any experiences to share? Would love to hear from you.