Important messages to encourage charitable giving
The news about charitable giving's decline in 2022 is everywhere. Your donors are no doubt seeing it, too. To help you navigate these challenging times, here are a few suggestions for key messages you can deploy in your communications this fall. You'll note that these messages are designed to encourage charitable giving in general, and then you can follow up with your own messages about your programs and the worthiness of your mission. Indeed, if people are not interested in giving in the first place, it won't matter what you say about the opportunities to support your organization.
Consider the following message points:
- Philanthropy means "love of humanity" — and, according to at least one dictionary, "philanthropy" refers to "acts that benefit both the giver and the receiver." This is surprising to some people who have been taught "it's better to give than to receive."
- Somehow we have popularized the idea that giving should "hurt." But that is not what the research says. Consider just a few examples:
- Research on the connection between volunteering and hypertension revealed that four hours of volunteering a week reduced the risk of high blood pressure – by 40% – in adults over 50.
- Another study indicates that giving reduces cortisol levels.
- Yet another study found a link between unselfishness and a lower risk of early death because "helping others" reduces stress-related mortality.
- Research has linked doing something good for someone else to an increase in endorphins.
- An altruistic attitude in the workplace makes you more productive and less likely to quit.
- Doing good and being grateful helps you sleep better at night.
- People who do just one good thing a week for someone else actually become happier over time.
- And this actually does matter. The gifts Americans give to charity every year provide critical support for more than a million organizations that are helping sustain the quality of life in our communities. Philanthropy equates to 2 percent of GDP– that's about the same as the home improvement industry.
- Still, only about half of Americans give to charity in a given year. And charitable giving was down in 2022 for only the fourth time in 40 years.
- Trends like these are concerning given that the United States has historically been at or near the top of the most charitable countries. Additionally, many community needs are increasing, whether due to inflation that makes food less affordable or a hot summer that has strained the health of so many.
- Some people are simply not aware of philanthropy's role as a catalyst for improving quality of life. They are not aware that anyone with a willingness to give can be a philanthropist. Whether you're giving $25, $2500, or $25,000, you're making a difference, teaching your children charitable values, and improving your own well-being, too. Celebrate the good you are doing. However much, however little. It all counts. Your gifts count.
- In so many ways, philanthropy creates the margin of excellence that helps communities, families, and individuals thrive.
- Peter Drucker wrote, "Virtually every important improvement in the quality of American life has roots in the nonprofit sector, from abolition of slavery, child labor and racial discrimination to advances in medicine, education and technology."
The community foundation is here to help, and we want your organization to thrive. Please reach out as you field questions from donors about making gifts of complex assets such as real estate or large blocks of stock, setting up charitable trusts, or establishing planned giving vehicles to support your mission for the long term. The community foundation can serve as your back office to help you secure large or complicated gifts to your endowment or reserve fund at the community foundation.
This content is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice.