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October 30, 2014

Meaningful Philanthropy

Meaningful Philanthropy


I feel we are so blessed in so many ways in our lives, and have so much that, why not make an impact and why not help others?


A donor’s personal story is the driving force behind meaningful philanthropy. Discovering life-changing events in a person’s life opens the door to a partnership of common purpose.


We recently had the opportunity to interview a donor who makes significant contributions to a university. She spoke about her experiences as a child who had very little and her experiences as a very successful adult, and how these inform her choice to help others.


I’m a Cuban girl that came to the United States with my family in 1960 with no money. Because I have gone through so much in my life, and saw my parents go through so much to establish themselves in this country and then succeed, I feel that it’s almost a responsibility for me to give back in some ways.


I think of the things I’ve been through. I think of ways I can continue to help others that are less fortunate. I think it’s a part of really who I am and who I’d like my children to become, a role model that I would like for them to see. I feel we are so blessed in so many ways in our lives, and have so much. Why not make an impact and why not help others?


As development professionals, we serve potential donors by helping them connect their personal stories to our organization’s programs or projects, and by showing them the potential impact their philanthropy will make.


Based on different interests that different individuals may have, you engage them and try to bring them in and try to make them feel special. That will make a difference. It’s creating the culture for people to want to be a part of something that’s different, impactful, and gonna be great.


Donors have a desire to engage with respected people doing important work. This donor described her feelings of connectedness and belonging with the organizations to which she contributes—and the joy she feels at the difference she is making.


When I give, I’m not giving because I want to be recognized. Actually, I think when you give from your heart and you’re not doing it with intent, it’s much better, but I would be disappointed if I were to give to an institution and the funds would not be used correctly, or to its best potential. But having that sense of community, that sense of belonging and the feeling that you are really making an impact—that’s the ultimate reward.



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