Give until it feels good
FOR GOOD, FOR EVER
· by LYNN BOHART, Renton Reporter Commentary
· posted Nov 27, 2013 at 2:42 PM
When I first started in my fundraising career, we were told to get donors to “give until it hurt.” Fundraising professionals came to realize that a better mantra was, “give until it feels good” – a not-so-subtle difference.
I often think of that mantra in my own life. I’m not a millionaire, so I can’t write checks like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. But I give back to my community in small ways and ways that make me feel good.
For instance, overtime I have sat on several nonprofit boards helping to move those organizations forward. I have volunteered to write newsletters and even volunteered to teach writing to my daughter’s elementary school class. Because I love the theater, I have volunteered to paint sets and work backstage for local theater productions.
Through Rotary, I have volunteered to check patients in at RotaCare, Renton’s free healthcare clinic, and greet seniors at the Senior Center’s Thanksgiving dinner. Last year, my daughter and I bought supplies at the dollar store to make holiday gift bags filled with toiletries for all the men in our local men’s shelter.
I’ve volunteered for various fundraising auctions and slapped stickers onto dictionaries to give out to third graders. Because I know how to put together a decent resume, I’ve donated that as an auction item. Lately, I’ve become a foster parent, taking in rescue dogs until they find their forever homes.
I make cash donations when I can, but I also keep a few $1 bills in the console of my car to hand out to that person standing on the street corner who looks like they could use a cup of coffee or a hamburger.
My volunteer time and donations pale in comparison to many people in our community. And yet, I do what I can. Why? Because it makes me feel good when I do it.
That’s the whole point, isn’t it? I’m not moving mountains. Nor am I solving society’s problems. But I just might make a small difference in someone’s day or in a nonprofit’s ability to help yet one more person in need. What you do doesn’t have to be worthy of a press release. It just has to make you feel good. Just think how powerful it would be if each one of us did that.
You know what? All this talk about giving has made me feel the need to do something. So I just wrote a check for $15 – that’s all – just $15. That’s what I can give right now. Who should I send it to?
We have so many great nonprofits in our community. There are those that help the homeless, and the ones who help people who need clean clothes. The arts organizations. Our museum. The healthcare organizations and the food banks. The groups that help kids stay in school and graduate, or the ones who get kids off drugs and off the street. There are those who work with the disabled and the environment, seniors and pets.
All of these groups are on the front lines. And they need our help – they need my help.
So I’ll send my gift to one of these local nonprofits. I’m not telling which one. That’s for me to know and them to find out. But the good news is - I feel great! Writing a check for just $15 made me feel good. Anyone care to join me?
Lynn Bohart is the executive director of the Renton Community Foundation that oversees a number of charitable funds that provide support to those in need in the greater Renton area. If you need help in selecting an organization to receive your gift of time or money, please send her an email. She can be reached at email@example.com.