The Message Behind One Billion Dollars a Day

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by George Rattin, Associate Vice President, HUB Philanthropic Solutions

Every year the researchers at the the Lily Family School of Philanthropy (IUPUI),the Giving Institute, and Giving USA pull together the annual Giving USA report.  I for one, like may of you I imagine, wait anxiously to read the tale of the tape–how giving fared in the previous calendar year. This year, again, giving has grown across the board with all groups in the USA contributing approximately a billion dollars a day philanthropically.  The detail of this report proves very instructive, however, perhaps we as fundraisers are missing the bold essential truth in this data. Americans are a generous people.  As a group, this has been proved over time, Americans are philanthropic and do give.  This should be cause for celebration as well as a moment of challenge.  If you know people are inclined to support good causes, how will you engage them with yours?  Do you have a strong case that articulates the impact of your organization’s work?  Have you made personal and significant connections with those most inclined to support your mission?   Do you communicate, meet, discuss the donor’s interests and match them with your  organizations programs? Have you built an engagement and stewardship programs that develop authentic connection?

The Giving USA report is a fantastic resource to the industry.  It defines giving trends and provides analytic data to support our actions.  But it also provides some clear big-picture messaging and challenges to social impact organizations in this country.  Your constituency is generous and is inclined to support good causes.  How will you connect your strong mission to these potential donors and engage their philanthropy for your organization?

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