Four Lessons From Many Puzzles

by | Dec 18, 2014

My work this year can be described as many different puzzles. Whether it was a family, a business, or a foundation fitting all the pieces together was as easy as it was hard.

Every puzzle was different, and finishing was rewarding. Giving puzzles are more frequent than you think, different ways to give with many different shapes.  Rewarding when it all came together.

My giving puzzles included urgent giving situations, families learning to give together, businesses taking on new giving challenges and foundations getting started. Every puzzle has been a learning opportunity.  Here’s what we’ve learned this year…..

Action Needed Now- at least that’s what the letter said….

It’s ok to slow down and be intentional, even when they say the need is urgent. The response to urgent requests for help can create urgent behavior. Such behavior demonstrates your belief as a donor in an opportunity to make things better. Leadership writer John Kotter said it this way, “Urgent behavior is not driven by a belief that all is well, or that everything is a mess, but instead by a belief that the world contains great opportunities and great hazards.”  The response to “action needed now” is reason for thoughtful consideration and intentional decision-making.

Giving together brings families together…..

It starts at the earliest ages and carries on throughout adulthood. It stretches across generations. Three year olds share toys, teens volunteer through school, church and club activities. Young adults can participate in giving activities and discussions and older adults can take on responsibility managing a family’s charitable giving. There can be many different giving roles in a family and they all matter.

Starting early and finding ways to keep each age group involved throughout a lifetime of family giving creates opportunities to learn together and from each other, develop common interests and connections. Values are developed and shared. Shared values unite families at the deepest levels. It’s the family journey of a lifetime.

Giving is good for us…

We aren’t always motivated by what’s good for us. We eat too many snacks, don’t exercise enough, or get enough sleep – according to the experts. The experts also tell us that giving is good for us.

Science gives us evidence from brain scans that the happiness center in our brain lights up when we are just planning to give and even more so in the actual doing. Individuals who volunteer report higher levels of well-being, lower levels of stress, better physical and emotional health and a higher sense of purpose. Many donors report giving financially today is far more satisfying and lasts longer than the feeling that accompanies even the best estate planning. Why not do something that’s good for you today?

Giving is good for business…

Small or large, a business benefits by engaging employees in volunteer and giving opportunities.  It impacts recruitment and good will among employees, teamwork, morale, customer loyalty and profits. That’s just the short list.

Giving as a business doesn’t have to be complicated or represent large amounts of money. It will make a difference for nonprofits and those they serve.  Business can help address the problems of this world. Employees benefit and your business benefits.

This year’s puzzles, from urgent giving situations to businesses and new foundations were every one easy and hard. We’re looking forward to the new year and coninuting to solve puzzles and learn together.

Share something you learned this year about giving………….


1 Comment

  1. Gail McGlothin

    Giving lifts a weight off my shoulders. When I am volunteering, I see how my work helps others. And when I write a check, I know that my donation, along with others, helps an organization serve people in ways I cannot. Whew! that task is done until the next time I am called to give.


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