Every year on October 5, we observe World Teachers’ Day. On this occasion, we recognize the significant impact teachers make on individuals, communities, and their societies overall. We also express appreciation for these contributions, and increase our awareness of the importance of the teaching profession around the globe.

For fundraisers in higher education, it is important to acknowledge that donors who are passionate about education often feel this way due to their own life-changing experiences in education. Teachers can make a tremendous difference in our lives, and many donors have experienced this firsthand. However, without having the opportunity to share that story in the context of their giving to your organization, the meaningful connection may be missed. This donor shares his personal story:

The caring attitudes of teachers, letting me know it’s not just school but the fact that we’re preparing you for life, makes a big difference. The teachers worked with us and helped mold us and gave me the opportunity of being able to do what I do today. I was that student where the teacher had to take me off to the side and say, “Look. You can do this. But you have to do tutoring.” If it wasn’t for someone pulling me off to the side and saying, “You need to step up your game,” I probably would have dropped out and not finished school. It’s that extra person caring.

People look at me now and they think I’m successful now, but it’s not how you start. It’s how you end up. That’s why I give back today.

Donors’ personal stories (life-changing experiences) determine how they want to make a difference and the people with whom they want to be engaged. This donor supports education at a local and a university level because his own life was changed by education. Thinking about this connection lends meaning to his contributions, increasing the personal satisfaction and joy he feels.


Application Items:

  • Do donors to your organization have meaningful personal experiences in education?
  • Have you acknowledged that important connection and encouraged passion-based philanthropic contributions?
  • Have you had teachers who impacted your life in a positive way? If so, how do you give back?