Do you believe that giving is good?

I mean really believe it. Not like ‘I’ll wait until the next season is on Netflix’ level of belief but like ‘I’m calling in sick to finish this season and the next tonight’ level of belief (no judgment by the way).

I think those of us in fundraising and philanthropy know giving is good and believe it to a degree but I don’t know if we fully, wholeheartedly believe that giving is good. And I don’t mean ‘good’ as in it’s what pays your salary, funds the organization, and creates impact in the world but at a more basic level that giving is good for the donor. The giver.

Well, it is (more on that below) but the ramifications of not believing that giving is flat out good for donors and people can be drastic and damaging.

For example, if we don’t, think giving is good, we view donors like this:

That’s my cat Thor – also know as Thor Bjorn and the Bjornabéu (which is funny if you like soccer, trust me) – and yes he is as evil and standoffish as he looks. My brother in law took this photo as Thor was standing on his suitcase. Like he was disturbing Thor by trying to use his own suitcase.

If we don’t think giving is good then we may view donors kind of like this picture. Like we’re bothering them when we send an email inviting them to make a difference with a donation. Or to an event to hear about a way they can make the world a better place. Or when we send them a crap ton of mail even though they haven’t given in 3 years and still have yet to get a thank you letter… okay that is very annoying and you deserve to be swatted if you’re doing that.

But you have to believe not just in your cause and the work your organization does to look donors in the eye or be confident when asking them to support a project but you have to also believe that what you’re asking them to do is also good for them. Because if it’s good for you, good for them, and good for the world, then why would you have any fear or trepidation about asking?

See if we really think that giving is good, we end up viewing our donors more like this:

That’s my dog Melly – also know as Melly Girl, Mel G or Mel D (not funny, even if you liked the Spice Girls) – and yes, she is as lovable as she looks. She almost knocks me over when I’m home from work and nuzzles up under my arm while I’m typing which is both annoying and the most adorable thing in the world.

She loves me. She loves attention. She wants to play. And so do donors. For some of them these attributes and believes are buried a little deeper down inside than others but who doesn’t want to help people in need, stand for what they believe in, and make a difference in the world.

They can do all that when giving to you plus they can get any number of these things.

10 Things Donors Get When They Give

  1. Happiness
  2. Pleasure
  3. A ‘high’
  4. Greater connection to others
  5. A happier marriage
  6. Supportive children
  7. A longer life
  8. Feel healthier
  9. Being less stressed
  10. Invisibility

I made up #10 (I sure hope that was obvious…) and while these aren’t all benefits of financial giving, spending money on others (not you), which giving to charity is, ticks a lot of those boxes. Below you’ll find a great summary infographic with some of the studies and research that proves this but if you just reflect on your own life you’ll know this to be true.

Okay, maybe not the fact that you’ll live longer but when you give to others or other causes (which you should do both as a habit and to scout what others are doing) you feel good don’t you? I know I do.This may be of the few times where reflecting on your own feelings and thoughts as a donor actually is useful for your fundraising. Remember how good you feel when you give because that’s what you’re offering to others when you ask them to give.

If you know and believe that giving is good then you should think: Heck yeah I’m going to follow up with you to see if you want to make another donation this year. You better believe I’m going to invite you to donate this Christmas

Heck yeah I’m going to follow up with you to see if you want to make another donation this year.

You better believe I’m going to invite you to donate this Christmas

And damn right I’ll let you know that giving every month is the best way to give and make a difference all year.


Know that giving is good – for you, your organization, and your donors. But even more so believe it. Because if you truly believe it, it will change how you think about your fundraising, communications, and donors.

Why Giving Is Good for You Infographic