sustainability

The Great Connection: Engaging Donors in Your Mission

posted by
Clyde W. Kunz, CFRE,

ASU Lodestar Center
NMI Instructor /
Owner,
Clyde Kunz and Associates, LLC

Most people, by their very nature, want to help others. Though not universal, it's true that people continue to volunteer and contribute money in support of organizations doing good work in our communities.

Periodically I run into someone (and even at times a fellow fundraising professional!) who argues, "People aren't as giving as they used to be." Data about giving suggests otherwise. In fact, Americans' giving over the past 40 years has averaged 2.2% of household income. Even today, in the midst of what many are calling "the Great Recession," giving hovers at the same rate as a percentage of income.

So, why do individuals contribute money to nonprofit organizations?

Each of us has different interests and concerns. While most of those concerns are focused on our own needs (I have to remember to pay the mortgage this week. What am I going to feed the kids for dinner? I'm late for work and almost out of gas!), we also have individual concerns that are more outwardly-focused (Why are there so many homeless people on the street these days? I wonder how my church can pay for its new roof? Who will take care of kids who are taken from dangerous family situations?)