Now that “Giving Tuesday,” the “national day of giving” for Americans, has passed, I wonder if the desire to support a cause will continue beyond the holidays?
A few weeks ago, I watched the History Channel premier of “The Men Who Built America,” a series documenting the lives and achievements of the men who built modern day America – Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Cornelius Vanderbilt and Henry Ford. These men competed for decades to see who could accumulate the most wealth. At one point in the series, Carnegie remarked, “the man who dies rich, dies disgraced.” A new competition began. The race was to see which industry titan could give away the most money before dying. This made me think about giving and what that might mean for me.
After five years in the nonprofit industry, I’ve learned there are many important causes. Although, that 42 inch plasma and puppy I secretly want would be nice, I’m determined to do something meaningful this year. This year, I’ve decided to forgo the dreaded and often lengthy excursions to the mall to purchase gifts, and will give to my favorite cause instead.
Individuals are inspired to give for many reasons, including a personal connection to or passion for the mission, the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others, and a personal connection to a community the organization serves.
There are different ways to give as well. Some people make a financial donation. Others volunteer their time. Organizations also give back. Many, including NEW, have giving campaigns, in which they choose one organization to support throughout the year, and the entire staff is encouraged to contribute. Organizations or individuals may also host a fundraiser to support a cause for another organization.
Personally, I am always drawn to those in which I have a personal connection to the mission, particularly to those institutions that promote health, fitness and youth development. As you begin to decide which causes and organizations to support, think about what your interests and passions are, what inspires you, and how you want to give.
Tread carefully, you’ll soon discover that giving is addictive and contagious. Here’s to hoping our friends and family catch what’s going around.
Written by Janice Gates, NEW’s Manager of Program Support. You may reach Janice at (734) 998-0160 ext. 206 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about NEW’s programs visit www.new.org and sign up for NEW’s Week and NEW’s Notes.