Over our last 20 years, Benefactor Group has tracked the rise of “mega gifts.” This trend has garnered a lot of media attention. However, one thing that I’ve learned is that all gifts matter.
Giving is good for us. There’s science to support it. When we donate, we experience the “warm glow of giving”—a feeling that occurs no matter the size of the gift or the age of the donor. Consider…
- The eight-year-old who decides to give all her piggy-bank savings to a local homeless shelter because her classmate has no permanent home.
- The high school baseball team that comes together to pool their personal resources and purchase playing equipment for an inner-city team.
- The young professional who proudly contributes two percent of his annual earnings to a campaign that supports the local foodbank.
- The retiree who is leaving a sizeable gift to her church through her estate.
- The entrepreneur who pledges to leave his fortune to find a cure for Alzheimer’s.
Making a gift of any size requires thoughtful consideration, a plan, and a desire to move the needle. Our hospitals, museums, libraries, human service organizations, animal shelters—the organizations that make our communities strong—were all built with thoughtful donations of every size and configuration.
What’s different today is that donors don’t just write checks to nonprofits, entrusting that those institutions will do the right thing. Today’s donors are sophisticated philanthropists: they want information, opportunities for meaningful engagement, input into how their contribution will be used, tangible and measurable results…and choices for making their gifts—via mail, mobile device, personal solicitation, crowdfunding platform, or peer-to-peer fundraising.
Giving is powerful. For the eight-year-old, her $5 gift was planned for a specific purpose; it was a major gift that held special meaning. So, let’s celebrate modest gifts! Together, modest, middle, major, and mega gifts make an organization, an institution, a cause—our communities—stronger and sustainable. And, that “warm glow” is good for all of us.