How to Get Started on Being an Intentional Donor

by | Feb 6, 2019

Is time your friend or foe? One moment it crawls at a snail’s pace and the next minute rushes by like a rabbit in a race with a dog. In my experience, the rabbit always wins the race and my snail-paced moments are rare.

As I write today the year is one-twelfth over, 8% gone, and halfway to Christmas. Well, I know it’s not quite that far gone, but it sure feels that way.

Since we can’t slow the calendar, I have a few ideas to kick-start our giving this year. By year’s end, you will be a more intentional donor and, on your way, to making an impact.

Grab a piece of paper and a pen, the back of an envelope will do.

Step One: List the next six months starting with February. Allow space for a few notes between each month.

Step Two: Note important birthdays or anniversaries. Is your birthday in one of these six months? Will you be celebrating any important events? Do any of these months hold a special meaning for you, perhaps one only you know? Write it down.

Step Three: Look at each month and the notes you made. Identify one nonprofit organization you could make a gift to as a way of celebrating the birthday, anniversary, important event or private moment for each month. Pick one or pick two. You choose.

Step Four: Donate this month to the organization you chose.

Important Step: Put your list someplace that you will see it next month and make the next donation. At the end of the six months make a new list for the rest of the year.

Special Note: Each month take a moment to review your list of important dates and note anything new you want to add to the list. Pick a different nonprofit. It is up to you. Make the donation.

Now, you are well on your way to being an intentional donor.

Today, donors talk a lot about intentional giving and having an impact. Impact is virtually impossible without first being intentional. The most important step to making your giving intentional is to think about the “why” of your giving.

Said that way, giving can seem like too much work. I’m told it’s useless to ask someone WHY they did something. They can’t put it into words; they do feel it. And they can almost always tell you a story that connects to what they feel.

So, start with this short exercise. A donation to one nonprofit organization, one birthday, anniversary or event, is a simple way to be intentional. The size of the gift is not important.

When you’re ready to move on to the next level of intentional giving, you can identify the reason you picked a particular nonprofit to honor someone’s birthday or anniversary. The reason will always be a story. The story is your “why.”

If you and I were having this discussion, we would soon connect your WHY to the impact you would like to see. Your stories, the core of your WHY, will always have a path to the impact you wish to see.

Said enough ways, that impact is the change you wish to see in the world or your community. Straight, windy, well-worn or practically new – the path between WHY and impact will always be there.

Runners tell us to pace ourselves if we want to finish the race.  To become a more intentional donor is a 10K, not a sprint. Just ask the snail.

Why not start today with this easy exercise.

Oh, and by the way – since it’s February, the month of hearts, chocolate, fond memories, and loving fun – make a gift to honor or remember someone you love. Make a gift to your favorite nonprofit organization.

How will you make the next six months the start of an intentional giving journey?

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