Author: Kelli King-Jackson
Undoubtedly, 2016 has been one of the most event-filled of my life. My husband and I settled into our first empty-nester home, Prince died, our daughter graduated from college, our son made us grandparents – to twins, my best friends mom is battling cancer, the election…
You get my drift.
Each of these events has caused me to shift my thinking about life, pleasure, and the world I will leave behind for my children’s children.
As my inbox becomes flooded with year-end requests I am thinking differently about my contributions. Some groups I care about really showed up for marginalized communities and will face policy uncertainty in 2017. Is my normal gift what my favorite charities need this year or are they looking for more? Some groups I used to care about were silent on issues important to me so I will be diverting those dollars to make more investments in organizations that support things I care about.
My thinking is not special, it’s actually a thing. Folks have been making ‘rage donations’ since November 8th. Philanthropy – when we give – is almost always aligned with what we care about. No matter how you felt about the outcome of the election, at some point this year, you have likely felt like the issues and causes you value are in jeopardy. For many of us, the loss of people, places and Parties has heightened our emotions in a way that makes us feel like we are losing control. When humans feel threatened we go into fight or flight mode. Are you going to fight for what you care about or run and do some extra retail therapy during this holiday season?
If you have been thinking of running, I would like to ask you consider pausing for a moment to consider making one final gift to a cause you care about. If you are a normal year-end giver, I am asking you to go beyond writing a check or clicking an online form. In 2016, make your final gifts of 2016 the more impactful than ever before.
If you can, please indulge me. Consider making a phone call or sending an email to your favorite charity and ask them the following:
- How did things go for them financially this year? Will they end in the red, flat or the black?
- What are the top two things they need to end the year prepared for a strong 2017?
- Do they have an email or Facebook post they can send you to share with your personal network?
You might think reaching out to the organization is a burden to them. I would counter that an organization would be honored to know that you care enough about their work to reach out. Also, right now organizations are so focused on ‘year-end messaging’ that they sometimes overlook the tangible things a donor can bring to their group besides money. Example: Your favorite organization said they need to raise $15,000 to hire a PR consultant. You ARE/KNOW a PR consultant. By contacting the organization, you can ask if pro-bono volunteering PR services could help them meet this need. This would allow the dollars you were intending to donate to be used to fill another need.
So simple, but so complex, when you are sifting through the weeds of this year. Be a Rebel with a Cause. As you work to leave the loss and heaviness of 2016 behind, you can rebel against hate and defeat by making strategic investments into causes you care about.
I am ready to make my call. Will you join me?