Yesterday, I came across this article about this 77-year old homeless man who donated $250 to charity. The man donated what he had begged off the street to give back to a ministry that had been feeding him for nearly two decades. Stories like this make you think.
As you may already know, my job is in development, which is a non-profit’s way of saying “fundraising.” I am responsible for the contributed income of my organization through a myriad of methods and campaigns. Fundraising is about people. It’s about getting to know people, building relationships, and helping people to know your organization well enough that they realize that what your organization does is important. When a person attributes value to what you do, they can express that value through becoming a part of what you do. That can mean volunteering their time, skills, resources… but it can also mean investing financially in what you do.
Mike and I give regularly to several organizations and ministries, despite the fact that our means are limited. One of the best things about my job is that I get to see the other end of that spectrum: generosity from people who value our organization and have the means to do big things. This is a huge motivation for achieving financial stability – being able to make a huge impact.
Stories like the one about this man, however, remind me that anytime someone places value on what you do and gives back, it is meaningful and important.
Some lessons I’ve learned about giving:
People give because they value what you do.
People give because they want to be a part of the good work you’re doing.
When someone is motivated to give, it doesn’t always matter what their means are – they will find a way to be a part of something they value.
People don’t give to get – they receive a greater reward from giving (read: In Giving, We Receive).
People are motivated to give when others are giving. (I bet the charity that received this $250 donation has experienced a major bump in larger gifts after this story hit the press. When we see someone of lesser means giving more than we are, it convicts us to remember what’s important).
If people aren’t giving, it’s likely because your organization/ministry has not done their job to communicate why it’s valuable, essential, and important.
Why do you give? Why don’t you give in some cases?