3 Clues to Discover Your Giving Calling

by | Mar 9, 2016

I read a blog post by Jeff Goins and reflected on his challenge to find my calling.  It’s a big challenge for sure, and after thinking about it for a while I drifted toward finding my calling in giving. In essence, my giving calling is the “one big thing” I want to support with my philanthropic dollars.


You see, our calling doesn’t have to be a specific vocation or avocation, or being the best mom or dad or the best friend anyone could ever have. Our calling can also focus on something we want to accomplish or help someone else accomplish. And that might take philanthropic dollars.

In my giving calling, it really doesn’t matter how many dollars I may have to share, the greater challenge is to discover the “one big thing” I want all or most of my giving to impact with so many giving opportunities before me.

Here are 3 clues to discover your giving calling and the “one big thing” you want to support with your giving dollars.

FIRST CLUE to Discover Your Giving Calling

We could make a very long list of those giving opportunities in a very short time. It is likely that in the last month you’ve thrown away at least one newsletter from a nonprofit organization that you’ve given to in the past. Or did you put it in a reading stack? Or maybe you stopped what you were doing and browsed through it right then. How you reacted to that newsletter or a letter from them is a clue to discover your giving calling.

I recently received a newsletter from an organization I believe in and have supported for a number of years only to find the entire two pages inside only a list of donors. I was genuinely disappointed. No pictures, not even a sidebar article about the great work they accomplish every day. I’m encouraged that they have many donors, but I was far more interested to hear about their work than to see the who’s who donor list.

SECOND CLUE to Discover Your Giving Calling

Another clue to discover your giving calling and the “one big thing” you want to support is to determine if you are genuinely interested in what a nonprofit organization is doing. Do you look forward to reports about their work?  When you discover an article in the newspaper or hear a news report about them, do your ears perk up?

THIRD CLUE to Discover Your Giving Calling

Getting back to that list of donors, it’s possible that you’re quite proud for your name to be included on their donor list. There is a sense of satisfaction that you helped them accomplish their mission. Or if you may prefer anonymity, but still smile at the list knowing that your name doesn’t really start with an A, but there it is right at the beginning of the list – yep – more clues.


If the clues are stacking up, try a test this year. Think about how much you gave last year and focus a larger percentage of that amount on that one organization. I know that means you’ll give less to some other organization or not at all, but I believe you’ll feel better about the focused giving to one than a small amount to many.

It’s just a test and you can always go back to the way you did it last year. Listening to your heart as the clues pile up and resisting the habit of the past could help you discover the “one big thing” you are passionate about supporting.

Tell me, what have you discovered to be your giving calling?

1 Comment

  1. Dennis Cullinane

    Dawn, I always enjoy the insight that you bring in your blog posts. This one is right on target. As non-profits we must always remember that it’s not about us or our boards, but our work. Thanks again!


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