The weather man predicted 100 degree days are on the horizon. It’s too hot here in Texas for most outdoor activities unless you’re heading for water. It’s hard to even find a breeze. My solution is early morning walks before the thermometer starts climbing.
Then I find myself looking for activities inside. After a trip to the mailbox where I found a fundraising letter to fund summer specific services it occurred to me that it was a good day to check out the website of the organization. There are fewer nonprofit asks this time of year so it’s a good time to practice my philanthropy skills – inside.
101 Philanthropy Skills
You too have philanthropy skills. You decide to give or not to give, file the ask letter in the circular file or put it in the stack to think about tomorrow. That’s giving 101. Let’s move on to the next level and ask questions like how do I stretch my giving dollars?
It doesn’t matter whether you give on a budget, $50 at a time, or write much larger checks. Each of us still wants to feel like the gift is making a difference.
Make your gift go farther and have an impact by using these hot summer days to learn about the organization. Don’t wait to the last minute when you’re about to write a check and can’t decide how much to send. Be proactive and do a little research. Call and ask a few questions. You may be surprised by what you learn and how much better you’ll feel when you write the check.
4 Great Questions to Ask
I found four great questions to ask when you start your research in an article by Roxie Jerdie, Make Your Philanthropy Go Further, in the SRQ Daily.
- How are your programs and services impacting people in the short-term?
- In the long-term, how will my dollars create positive change?
- How do you monitor and report on success?
- What are some specific examples of success?
The answers can start a dialogue that helps you understand their work and how your money is helping them accomplish their mission.
Read about my experience as an Executive Director when a donor came asking questions. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Jerdie, now president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota, spent 11 years working for Hallmark and helping to roll out the now popular Shoebox Greeting cards. She learned a thing or two about business along the way leading her to ask even more insightful questions about an organization.
A Couple More Questions
Questions about the organization’s leadership – Is it strong, committed and ethical? Or questions about funding sources – Do they have diverse funding sources or just rely on a few donors?
If the answers leave you discouraged, take heart. Just move on to the next organization and ask again. Each time you do a little research you’ll feel more confident about how your giving matters.
Want to talk more about what questions to ask? Contact me directly and we’ll dive in – I love questions.