A Humble Approach to Giving

With the holiday season upon us, a time of joy and of sharing, this newsletter is specifically about donorship.

It’s at this time of the year that I often reflect on the enormous efforts and the tremendous impact of the nonprofit community, and the donors who support them. Friends and colleagues often ask me how I assess the effectiveness of the nonprofits that I support. I share with them that I have the highest regard for organizations that have:

  • Strong leadership, with a bold vision and a solid plan for implementation.
  • A clear mission that spells out what the organization seeks to accomplish and why it’s important.
  • Transparency regarding finances, governance, program evaluation, outcomes, and impact.
  • Robust partnerships with donors, volunteers, other nonprofits, businesses, and government.

No matter the size or type of contribution, always take a humble approach to giving. Trusting a nonprofit’s leadership and contributing unrestricted dollars to support their whole mission is a sign of respect. While an organization’s budget may have line items for people and infrastructure separate from program costs, they can’t operate without both. Investing in leadership development — for both staff and board — will make an impact and help sustain and grow the organization.

Nonprofits and their donors become a team when they think of doing “the whole job” together.

  • Do you feel like you’re playing on the same team with the nonprofits you support?
  • How do you select the nonprofits that you get involved with?