Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Year End Giving

One of the great challenges of non-profit life is the year end giving push. Budgets are reviewed, expenses are tallied and non profits turn to their constituencies and ask for donations. Not only do I get the asks from charities I currently support and the ones I supported in the past - but this year everyone I know is sending me the asks from other organizations saying - hey I got this you might want to see it.

They are all sincere, heartfelt asks and I find myself wondering how people make their decisions. For myself, I give to organizations that I know do good work in my community - groups that do meals for the homeless; diseases that have impacted myself and my family; animal organizations; gifts for children and anyone who will take my old clothes and donated items. The thought of children saying please give me a blanket for my bed breaks my heart as we had temps in the 20's last night and that child's blanket may not be delivered for another week.

What I don't like are the people who call me. I find that very intrusive and most importantly I don't trust them. How do I know that those callers really work for the police department? And the man who called from one organization I had supported already this year was really aggressive and made me worry about just who had my contact info at their organization. Since I spoke to him every time I think of that organization I get an uneasy feeling and that makes it much easier to toss away their asks.

So I guess it is all about feelings. Who makes you feel good when you give? What words or images create a feeling that says I must do something now? And what makes you feel like just for a minute like I'm making the world just a little bit better for at least one man, woman, child or animal?

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