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Jim Eskin Provides Donors Sound Giving Advice is one fundraising veteran’s advice to major donors when making a big gift. Here’s what Eskin has to share.
There are more than 1.5 million non-profits in the U.S. touching, improving and saving more lives by championing every conceivable mission under the sun. Whether it’s health, education, economic development, arts and culture, animal welfare or a host of human services, each of their missions is noble.
So how does someone pick a non-profit to share their personal and voluntary gifts of time and money? As you grow older you appreciate that the gift of time is more precious because, unlike money, it can never be replaced.
Start from this foundation: There are no bad nonprofits or causes devoted to improving the lot of others and the world. That’s the dilemma. Donors don’t choose between the good and the bad but have to make difficult decisions between the good and the good. Even the wealthiest donors can’t respond favorably to every request they receive.
Jim Eskin Provides Donors Sound Giving Advice
Difficult decisions need to be made reflecting the donor’s values, priorities and individual perspectives on challenges and opportunities facing the world.
As a fundraising trainer/consultant who’s enjoyed working with a wide variety of nonprofits and hundreds of staff, board members, volunteers and donors, these are my thoughts on the process of finding the non-profit(s) that are the right fit. These are not presented in order of importance.
- A huge influence will likely be organizations that have personally impacted you or your loved ones. Think of medical facilities and research that have saved and/or extended your life or the life of a loved one. Or just think of an animal humane society that provided a pet who has become part of your family. And there are scores of other timely examples.
- The appeal of giving back to an organization that changed and lifted the direction of your life. Educational institutions come quickly to mind, with alumni responding to annual appeals.
- Being asked by someone you know, respect and trust to provide gifts of time, talent and treasure. This is a Fundraising 101 lesson built on the immense power of relationships and friendships.
- Gifts of time and money go hand-in-hand. The more someone gives of one, the more likely they are to give the other. People who volunteer their time and skills to non-profits donate an average of 10 times more money to charity than people who don’t volunteer, according to a comprehensive national study on volunteering by the Fidelity® Charitable Gift Fund and Volunteer Match. This makes perfect sense because volunteers gain a keen appreciation of the mission in action.
- Nonprofits and causes can become family traditions. Meaning different generations follow the footsteps of those who came before or after them.
- The tug of priorities or crises in particular parts of the country. Emergency, rescue and disaster relief efforts come immediately to mind.
- Donors can and do support multiple causes at the same time, especially those in different mission spaces. Typically, donors will prioritize where finite dollars and time are directed.
- Donors respond to a leadership challenge, particularly in their skills or interests. This can include boards looking for expertise in areas such as law, accounting, marketing and others, not to mention those special individuals who welcome fundraising challenges such as playing leadership roles in capital campaigns.
- The nonprofit or cause has earned a reputation of being a fun place to be engaged. In addition to the personalities of their leaders, their events and programs have exceptional branding appeal.
- Keep in mind that values, priorities and perspectives can and do change over time. Causes we prioritize at early and mid-life stages can change profoundly when we become seniors.
Remember, there are no right and wrong decisions. Sharing finite resources of time and money for any of the nation’s 1.5 million nonprofits can enrich the world around you and help you grow and feel better about yourself. As we begin to make New Year’s resolutions, engaging in non-profits and causes couldn’t come at a better time and have good reason to be on your lists.
Jim Eskin’s consulting practice, Eskin Fundraising Training builds on the success of his more than 150 fundraising workshops and webinars and provides the training, coaching and support services that non-profits need to compete for and secure major gifts. He has authored 100 guest columns that have appeared in daily newspapers, business journals and blogs across the country, and publishes Stratagems, a monthly e-newsletter exploring timely issues and trends in philanthropy. Sign up here for a free subscription. He is author of 10 Simple Fundraising Lessons, which can be purchased here.
Jim Eskin Provides Donors Sound Giving Advice was first posted at INSIDE CHARITY
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