Every year on Memorial Day, people across the United States set aside time to remember and appreciate the sacrifices that have been made to ensure the freedoms and privileges we enjoy.

Development professionals have the opportunity to do something similar for donors all year long. People often must make many sacrifices in order to achieve the financial success necessary to make major contributions. These sacrifices are meaningful experiences for donors, so it is important for the organizations they support to recognize and respect these sacrifices.

Remember, the most meaningful philanthropic contributions are based on life-changing experiences, and helping donors identify those experiences is the first step toward passion-based philanthropy. Honoring donors’ life experiences and the sacrifices they have made is also an important part of providing meaningful Return on Philanthropic Investment. After all, in addition to seeing the impact of their contributions and having their expectations for those contributions met, donors also want to be valued beyond their checkbooks. Taking the time to listen to donors’ personal stories and demonstrating genuine respect and gratitude for sharing the rewards of their sacrifices will also encourage further contributions.

Ask & Act

    • What sacrifices are you aware of that enabled your donors to make significant philanthropic contributions?
    • What are some ways to show donors that they are considered to be valued members of the organization?
    • Go beyond thanking donors, and show them that you respect them.


Sacrifice is often an essential catalyst for philanthropy. This month, remember to acknowledge these contributions with respect and gratitude.

Now, go out and make magic happen!