Donors 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.
Before founding her firm, Karen Eber Davis developed the Sarasota County Community Development Block Grant Program. Under her leadership, this infant program received the National Association of Counties National Affordable Housing Award for the Down Payment Assistance Program. To date, the program helped over 1,800 families realize their dreams of homeownership. She also worked with the City of Ft. Lauderdale and the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, where she developed the division’s first audit program. In an earlier position at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Tampa, she organized senior, youth, and children groups plus family activities. Her youth staffing work with the Florida Synod of the Lutheran Church in America supported youth ministries in 120 congregations in Florida.
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