1) Why do you give?
For me, giving financially to a nonprofit brings many of the same feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment that I feel when giving my time as a volunteer. However, even more importantly, I feel that as a citizen concerned about the well-being of my fellow human beings, I have the civic duty to give to the nonprofit sector because I am in a fortunate position financially that allows me to do so. In our society today, the system is unfortunately set up to create injustices and inequalities, but by giving to or certain causes through nonprofit organizations and foundations, I am able to in a small way fight these unequal circumstances facing our world.
2) Why do you think giving is important?
Giving is the lifeblood that keeps the heart of the nonprofit sector beating- a sector that is working to solve many of society’s most pressing issues. Without the philanthropic contributions of many generous individuals, problems would be going unaddressed, more lives would be unjustly lost, and the people of our society would not be afforded some of the wonderful opportunities they are receiving. More subtly, though, giving is an act that motivates nonprofit organizations to strive harder to fulfill their missions and improve their services.
3) What do you look for in an organization that you’d like to support?
The most important factor of an organization I look for in my giving decisions is a drive and passion to make the world a better place. Obviously, this may not be a distinguishing factor on paper, which is why I enjoying giving to organizations I have had personal interaction with, whether it be through volunteer work, a personal relationship, or previous employment. By seeing the passion of those involved with the organization, I am assured that my money will be used to improve some aspect of the world, no matter what the cause may be.
4) What about your experience working with charitable organizations?
First and foremost, my internship with the Charities Review Council truly opened my eyes to the importance and responsibility associated with smart giving. Also, as a student volunteer and board of directors member for Students Today Leaders Forever, I have been exposed to the criticality of fundraising to the success and growth of young nonprofits. These, along with more recent nonprofit internships and volunteer positions, have engrained in me a donor’s mentality that I will carry with me throughout the rest of my life.
5) What advice would you give to other potential donors?
Giving is certainly done more with the heart than with the wallet. Therefore, follow your passions when deciding where to give; the cause is always more important than the amount. What has been your best giving experience?
Recently, I committed to participating in the 12x12 Student Donor Campaign of Students Today Leaders Forever (STLF), the nonprofit on which I serve on the board of directors. In doing so, I joined an impressive movement of student donors who have committed to a monthly gift of $12 to the organization over the next year. Not only was it meaningful because I had made my first regular giving commitment to an organization, but also because I was helping demonstrate what my socially-conscious generation is capable of doing within an increasingly vibrant nonprofit sector.
6) Has the Council been useful for you?
Interning at the Charities Review Council helped me build a base of giving knowledge that I will continue to shape and build upon with every giving experience. Now, as an informed donor and Council supporter, I rely on their services to keep me in tune with best practices and upcoming trends in the philanthropic sector. I know I can always turn to the Council as a trusted and reliable source with any question or concern on nonprofit giving and accountability.
7) What can donors do to strengthen nonprofits?
In the new wave of nonprofit accountability, donors have the authority to demand responsibility and high standards of the organizations of which they entrust their gifts. In fact, because of the opportunities and potential that donors bring to nonprofits, their word often holds stronger than that of the government or the rest of the organization’s stakeholders. Therefore, donors hold the key to a stronger and more responsible nonprofit sector of the future.