It’s Better to Give than Receive
Today is the longest day of the year. It’s nice to spend it somewhere you really enjoy. We are still at the beach and so we will be trying to get every ounce of fun out of this long day. We are certainly making a run at it, seeing how the kids were up with the sun at 6am and we have already gone for a walk around the neighborhood, had breakfast at an outdoor café, participated in a sandcastle-building session, taken a swim in the ocean where we played on a sandbar, followed by a bike ride and a swim in the pool – and it’s just 1pm.
So, one of the things that I was contemplating earlier this week is the concept that in the nonprofit industry we sometimes view the relationship between an organization and a donor as a means to the end of funding the important work of the organization. And while that is certainly true, it would be a big mistake if we fail to recognize the value that is received by the donor in a giving relationship with an organization.
The value that I am describing takes two forms. The first and most obvious value that the donor receives from an organization should be in the form of growth or learning. In a media ministry the donor is certainly deriving value from the on air teaching, from books, or other resources that they receive. In a different way a missionary-sending organization, a rescue mission, or a relief and development organization most likely provides relationship of resources and teaching that helps the donor to have a better understanding of their mission and the place(s) they serve which is inherently valuable to the growth and learning of the donor – not to mention the value received by being valued in a relationship by an organization.
The second value that the donor receives is from the act of giving itself. We should not overlook the spiritual value gained by the individual based on God’s desire for individuals to give of their resources and of themselves. In his letter to the Philippians in the Bible, Paul says clearly that, “…you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account… the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet your needs according to the riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:16-19)
So as we in the nonprofit industry are in the business of helping to fund the very important work of nonprofits by acquiring, developing, and maximizing relationships – which lead to gifts – that are vital to achieving their mission… We must not forget that there is also great value received by the donor in the giving relationship. In the end, the relationship between the organization and the donor is truly valuable to them both.