Do you have joy in your giving? ‘Why are you asking me that question, Jeff? I’m about getting my donors to find joy in their giving…It’s not about me.”
Well, I don’t think that’s true. We talk a good game (myself included) about wanting our donors to find real joy when they give, but if we don’t have it ourselves, how can we talk about it for others?
When I was a kid, growing up in a working class family, my Dad made the privilege of giving a really big deal. Every Friday after payday he would gather us around the kitchen table and write out his checks to charity. He would do this before paying the bills or buying groceries.
I remember once when he was out of work for 5 months, Dad would put his unemployment check in the bank, and then still write those checks. And, he loved it…he couldn’t wait to write those checks. He told us that it was always important to give back, that there was always someone else worse off.
That sticks with you as a kid. Any wonder I became a fundraiser?
I would love to say that I’ve always had joy in my personal giving. But honestly, I went through a period of many years when it was just something I did, but didn’t really think much about. It became rote, uninspired and boring.
The exact opposite of what you want your own donors to feel.
Then, very close to Christmas last year, it came back. I got a call from one of my clients who asked me to come up with a strategy to help about 30 families who would not have Christmas if we didn’t help now. We quickly put a strategy together to call business leaders and major donors.
I wanted to help too. I called my wife and we decided to help. The idea of directly helping a few families buy presents for their kids just ignited a great sense of joy. The next day I got a call from the Executive Director saying they had received enough to help every family. Two hours later she called again to say that the families we had sponsored were overwhelmed with emotion and wanted to thank us.
That whole experience helped me understand what joy in giving feels like again.
I hope you get to experience that joy as well. I mean really feel it.
And isn’t that what we want for all our donors? I mean, as we cultivate these relationships we honestly begin to care for these good people. We want them to experience the joy that comes when they feel they are making a true difference in the world.