December 1, 2015

On Giving Tuesday & Every Day: It’s Not the Amount, It’s What Your Gift Does

Rows of chairs from a graduation ceremonyDonors frequently tell me that philanthropic giving feels overwhelming. Overwhelmed comes from too many choices, too much need, and often our concern that we have too few dollars. When we listen to “overwhelm,” we tend to do nothing.

Overwhelm is a kind of confusion. One of the best things we can do with overwhelm is to turn it off. “Stop it,” as Bob Newhart says in this well-loved skit.

Overwhelm will return unless we replace it. Replace overwhelm with the conviction of your power and your ability to make an impact. Lincoln pennies built the Lincoln Birth Place Memorial. Dimes supported the cure for polio.  Success, eventually, is about collective action. And, collective action begins with leadership. Yours.

So as the year winds down, instead of wishing you could give more, consider the impact of your gifts. Did you give thoughtfully? Did you give as part of a strategy to move the needle, push through roadblocks, and change lives?

Elton Trueblood observed that “Faith is not a blind leap into nothing, but a thoughtful walk in the light we have.” Instead of letting overwhelm dull your response, embrace your ability to make an impact.


Karen Eber Davis

Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.


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