How to Fund Community Change with Shared Passion

by | Oct 30, 2018

A Tale of Two Cities – oh, I meant Two Coalitions. Besides the name has already been taken and I can’t begin to write as eloquently as Charles Dickens. But I can give it my best shot at being succinct about the importance of paying attention to change work going on in your community.

Communities are always in a state of change – good or bad. It’s when people come together with a shared passion for a cause and put in countless hours dreaming, talking, and planning that they get better.  Groups focused and intentional about change, the kind that makes our communities better places to live, eventually need donors.

Today I’m not thinking about the countless organizations delivering direct services to individuals and families who need help in all sorts of ways. I am thinking about coalitions, alliances, and partnerships.

If you look around you will find a group of people with a passion for a cause, with a mission and a plan to bring change in some way to our communities and our world. If you take time to listen, you may find a shared passion for the change and want to come alongside and join them in the work.

Sometimes it is a challenge to give to such groups because they might not have a bank account or incorporated as a nonprofit organization. So, your donation might not be tax deductible.

Did you know the charitable deduction was established in 1917, just 101 years ago? The federal income tax was introduced only four years earlier.

Imagine where this country would be today if our forefathers had not invested in change during our first 141 years? Communities became better places to live because citizens gave long before there was a charitable tax donation.

Coalitions, alliances, and partnerships are unique. They often involve many different people, agencies, and organizations. Sometimes they are simple, sometimes complicated. In any event, they often do not incorporate.

Reasons they might not incorporate:

  • They see themselves as a high-level change agent, and another organization will do the day to day work
  • The work required to accomplish the change is short-term
  • They don’t need to raise on-going operating funds
  • They may be more focused on networking, collaborations or partnerships than operating as one entity

You have to decide if the work is important enough to find the workarounds so that you can still donate. Even small amounts may go a long way toward accomplishing their goal.

How can you support the group’s work with a donation?

  • Look for an intermediary, a nonprofit organization that has agreed to accept donations to fund their work
  • Find out if a bank has agreed to accept funds directly in their name for a short period
  • Donate services, supplies, meeting space
  • Underwrite the cost of beverages, snacks or lunch
  • Ask “How can I help?”
  • Be creative

The decision to donate and forgo the tax deduction is personal. You decide if the work matters enough to forgo the tax deduction.  If you do, frame it as an investment in a cause that fuels your passion – one you want to see accomplished.

Change in our community or our world is no small thing. Even small donations can make a big difference.

How have you been a part of a group working toward change? In what way, did you support the effort? Share your most creative donation idea with us.

Like it? Use it. Share it. Comment Below.

1 Comment

  1. Gail McGlothin

    Thoughful piece. I wish more tiny organizations would spend as much time building coalitions as trying to fill out the 501(c)(3) applications.


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