“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” That’s sage advice from one of the most popular children’s authors of all time, Dr. Seuss. This isn’t the first time I’ve started a blog with Dr. Seuss. But it seems his message is appropriate all over again.
Giving to the causes you care “a whole awful lot about” should be easy. It should feel good – even great. I’ve spent a lot of time over the years helping donors figure out how to feel great about their giving. We have explored areas they are most interested in and dive deep into their giving style.
It might seem how we give boils down to us first and others second. Yet, at the center of all our exploration is still that wise advice that unless someone like you and me cares a lot, nothing will change – nothing gets better.
A Donor’s Greatest Challenge Today
How do we continue caring, after all we’ve been through this last year? 2020 was a challenging year for everyone. It was harder for some than others but hard for all of us. We need a break, a vacation from caring.
2021 is now rushing in the door with no signs of slowing and crying for us to continue caring. Caring reaches far beyond food and shelter to include sustenance for the soul – music and theatre and gardens for wandering.
The thing we call philanthropy, our actions that lead to the love of mankind in all manner of ways, is expecting us to show up again this year.
So, here we are, opening our mailboxes and emails only to be disappointed that last year’s gift was not enough. The need seems only to be growing. It is difficult to find joy in giving when the need continues to show no sign of slowing.
How to Flex Your Giving Muscles
2021 will require us to stay in shape, to keep our giving muscles stretched and ready to respond. We must respond to what moves us, understand our unique giving styles, share with others where we give and why to keep services funded and experiences available. That’s what it will take to keep us all whole.
Giving is not particularly complicated. We know the organizations and causes we care about; we support events or make an annual gift during the year. This year more is required of us. Consider the importance of giving to our favorites more often – several times during the year. The size of the gift is less important than the continued support.
The organizations and causes we give to love us. They add all the gifts together – large and small. It’s a step toward feeling great about our giving, demonstrating that we care “a whole awful lot.”
If this is your year to embark on more complex giving, you certainly have many more ways to demonstrate how you care. You have more giving vehicles from which to choose, but don’t let the legal terms and rules slow your giving pace. There is no joy in avoidance for you or the nonprofit organizations on your list.
Overcoming Resistance to Give Again
If you feel overwhelmed by the need and find yourself resisting the pull to demonstrate how you care, you are normal. I believe we are all struggling in that area. Find one place to start this year, one organization, one cause and start there with one gift. Wait a month and give again to the same place or a different one but give again. Reflect on what it means to care and how you demonstrate caring.
Ask yourself, “why does this organization or cause matter to me?” The question should not be taken lightly or left to shallow exploration. For most of us, the “why” is like deep-water drilling. You might have to dig more than one hole to find the real reason. Whatever it takes, get excited again about organizations where your donor dollars go.
Digging is good for us. It keeps our giving muscles stretched and ready for the next gift.
Dr. Seuss also said, “Think and Wonder. Wonder and Think.” You might not explore a path to giving joy that only you can experience without thinking and wondering. When you do, you will become that person Dr. Seuss is talking about “someone like you caring a whole awful lot.”
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