Laura Otten is director of The Nonprofit Center at La Salle University. She has created a new blog that I will be paying attention to called Nonprofit University. She will be sharing her thoughts and questions about the business side of nonprofit organizations.
Laura recently submitted her first post Death Becomes Us. She discusses the topic of what influences people to give their time and money to charity. In it she writes:
"Has this practice of giving us something more than a simple
thank you for our gifts of time and dollars created a culture that has
lost the meaning of doing good simply to help others; of doing good
simply because we know that as long as we are able it is the “right”
thing to do?"
Today, the number of nonprofit organizations we have to choose from for our donations is overwhelming. People tend to freeze and not do anything if they are confused. Many also live a frantic, reactive lifestyle. They may have intentions to give but other events in life fill their time and mind so there is nothing left over for charity.
Many charities go out of their way to give us things in an attempt to get us to donate our money and/or time to them. This is a proven marketing practice that has worked for centuries. What does it do?
- It interrupts our busy lives for a moment and has us focusing again on the concept of giving
- It proposes a reason to donate to that one charity out of the more than 1.5 million other choices of nonprofit organizations
- It takes advantage of the law of reciprocity where you and I are now compelled to give something back in return for the gift
I don’t believe most of society is expecting more than a simple thank you and the knowledge the donation is making a difference. We are already receiving many benefits from giving unselfishly. But I also believe many are not building giving into their goals/plans and being disciplined in their giving of time and money. Until that happens, I expect we will continue to receive gifts from some nonprofit organizations in search of our donations.
Related post: 5 Reasons I Love To Volunteer