Should a CEO sit on the board of his/her own directors' companies?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Why is Cumulative Giving So Neglected?

I've been contributing annually to not one, not two, but at least a half dozen environmental groups for over 35 years. Granted, my gifts have not been huge -- mostly in the $25-50 range -- but they have been consistent. I don't believe I have ever missed a year in all this time. I'm sorry to report that NONE of these organizations has acknowledged my cumulative giving over so many years, or contacted me outside of direct mail. What a shame.

It seems I am invisible to them, just another of the tens of thousands of donors who cycle through their organizations, usually introduced through a direct mail appeal. The difference about me is that I have never stopped giving, while I'm sure many tens of thousands of others have moved on to other charities. After all these years, they know absolutely nothing about me. Here's just a small sampling of what they don't know or what they have ignored:
1. I've moved dozens of times over these years, and every time I made sure to give them my change of address.
2. I'm incredibly loyal. Even after all these years of being treated like someone they've never heard of every time I give, I still keep giving.
3. I'm older now! I'm a member of the cohort of excellent planned giving prospects. I'm low hanging fruit!
4. I live in a major metropolitan area where I'm sure many other donors to these organizations live. They could get us together and bring us much closer to the organization. They are probably ignoring all those donors too.
5. I've been giving unrestricted gifts all these years. Maybe I could be persuaded to support specific projects at a higher level if I were made aware of those opportunities.

I'm re-evaluating my giving to these groups this year for the first time. Frankly, if I wanted to be ignored and under-valued for 35 years I could have stayed married to my first husband!

I deserve better, and this is the year I make my move. I've been giving to a few other groups that show appreciation, keep me informed and make me feel like my gifts matter. I'm going to reward them for knowing how to treat a gal right.

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