30 April 2015

Responding to Every Request for a Donation

I am both a giver and receiver of donations. This is as it should be, in my estimation.
       Some of us who raise funds for worthy causes believe that we need to look and sound "poor" or "needy," and being generous does not lend to that. The conventional wisdom is that if people see that we donate to other causes they will not give to ours.
       Well if that is the case I would prefer that people not donate to my causes and I can continue to give generously.
       The fact is that I actually LIKE asking people to give money to causes that I believe in, those that are seeking to make a positive impact in the world. I even like asking people to give for my personal support. Yes, I'm weird!
       We who are able also NEED to give generously, for many reasons. Among them is that we have the tendency to create idols out of possessions and pay checks and our stuff!
       Well, as someone who raises funds for a couple different causes, I have to deal with a lot of non-responses. I send out an email or letter and hear nothing from people. The silence is deafening!
       The only thing worse than silence is when someone says they will give and they don't. Then I send a reminder, and another one. Then I feel like I am stalking them. Ugh!
       So let me put on my "donor" hat again and seek to "be the change that I want to see happen!" (as Ghandi said) As much as possible, I try to respond to every personal request for a donation. Even if I have to say no to the person or organization, I want to encourage them in some way. I say things like this:
"Thank you for asking me to contribute to your cause. I won't be able to this time, but I think your work is important. Press on in doing good."
       I know that it can sound or feel patronizing to the person, but I would prefer that risk to simply saying nothing to them and leaving them in a fog.
       We in the West have an epidemic of fear and obsession with personal security. The way we deal with this fear and security "need" is to hold onto money, homes, comforts. They make us feel (falsely) more safe and secure. I do it, you do it. Most people do it.
       We need to become more obsessed with giving and generosity and less obsessed with security.
       It needs to start with me.
       It needs to start today.

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