While there are many compelling reasons to give, including tax benefits, many donors would argue that the benefits of giving go beyond an itemized deduction. Discovering these benefits through making personal contributions of your own can help to make you a better fundraiser.
As development professionals, you understand the core concepts that humans have a deeply held yearning to make a difference and a need to be engaged with respected people doing important work. Walking the talk—giving a stretch donation to the cause you are working for—will give you additional insight into the emotions donors experience when making a contribution.
One of the important gains you’ll make through contributing to your cause is internal credibility. A CDO we recently interviewed shared, “I have and always will be the first to give before I ask.” Development professionals understand the power a lead gift has to encourage other donors to give. The reservations subsequent donors might have had are often lessened by the psychological impact of that lead gift. Think of your personal contribution as the lead gift for your own psyche. You’ve fully committed to the cause, and whether you choose to tell others of your own personal commitment or keep it to yourself, your commitment will show. You believe in this cause strongly enough that you put some of your own skin in the game.
Fundraisers we interview share that making a contribution puts their work on a different level in their own mind; the cause becomes about more than the daily work and broadens to embrace the mission. By making a personal contribution to your cause, you’ll find it easier to invite others to do the same. One donor and volunteer fundraiser stated:
I think it’s difficult to make an ask if you haven’t been asked and you aren’t on board yourself. I think it’s much easier when you’re already committed, you’ve already gone through that process of thinking about what you should do. It’s much easier to then approach other people. But I think the fundamental basis is, you’ve got to commit it yourself.
As this year draws to a close, spend some time thinking intentionally about making your own meaningful contributions. As a development professional, apply your skills helping others identify their passions to seeking out your own. Ask yourself, “What would I like to accomplish with my money that would be meaningful to me?” Chances are, you’ll discover joy and meaning that you could experience in no other way.
Contact us to learn more about meaningful contributions and philanthropic commitment.