“We give our time and our hearts to a cause, but we can only do it because others give us gifts of their own, freely, and without any expectation of return."
Wonder why your email inbox is flooded with urgent year-end donation appeals? The last week of December is a big deal for charities. Roughly 1/3 of all online donations are made this month, donations are higher than other times in the year, and something like 10% of donations come on the cusp of New Year’s Eve. You are statistically more likely to donate in the next 5 days than any other time of year. And thus, the emails and Tweets come flooding in.
It seems like a fitting time of year for Lesson #11: A gift is a gift.
Canada Revenue Agency says that a “donation” is a gift, given freely, and without expectation of benefit or return. It’s a beautiful sentiment that separates charities from nonprofit organizations and reminds those of us who work in the sector to be humble - we give our time and our hearts to a cause, but we can only do it because others give us gifts of their own, freely, and without any expectation of return.
I like organizations where all staff are involved in fundraising. I think we do better work when we know where every dollar comes from. We appreciate the supporter who drove an hour into the city to hand us a $100 cheque in person and we do everything we can to spend it wisely. We recognize the handwriting of so-and-so’s aunt on the envelope and are honoured she remembered us this year.
The holiday season doesn't remind me what gift-giving is all about. The holidays don’t make me want to donate to charity. It's the opposite: Charity gift-giving reminds me what the holidays are all about. This month, everyone else is experiencing what I get to live the whole year - the pleasure of giving and receiving gifts without expectation of anything in return.