I think my fellow fundraisers would agree that our feeling about philanthropy isn’t that you should try to give, give, and give to every organization that approaches you. In fact, my fellow fundraisers would probably say, “JUST SUPPORT OUR ORGANIZATION!” But I digress…
I just read a great piece by Julie Blais Comeau (a.k.a. @EtiquetteJulie) in the Huffington Post, entitled: “Sticky Situations: Saying No to Charity”. Thank you to my sister (and fellow fundraiser) @arundelgibson for tweeting about this article.
In @EtiquetteJulie’s piece, she talks about the steady flow of requests for donations in her workplace – one colleague is doing a run for the cure, another has a child whose school is selling chocolate bars to fund raise… the list goes on. I’m sure this has happened to you, or something similar. Julie discusses appropriate ways to say “no” to your coworkers when this occurs, all of which are very tactful and helpful.
This article made me think about something I once heard James Fleck, Canadian businessman and philanthropist, say:
Philanthropy is balancing your passion and your resources.
Would you consider it philanthropy if you dropped a loonie into one of those Salvation Army collection boxes? Would you consider it philanthropy if you gave a homeless person your spare change? I’m not saying it isn’t helpful or worthwhile to do this, but I’m asking: Is this philanthropy???
My thought is that I’d rather make one meaningful contribution per year to an organization that I feel passionately about, and that I want to invest in. What do you think? Please comment here with your thoughts, ideas, and musings. OR, even better, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss getting involved with What Gives??? as a guest blogger. I’d love to have you on board!
Written by Maeve Strathy
Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in educational fundraising for the past 6 years. Click here to learn more about Maeve.