ellohay! West Michigan

Your hard-earned dollars

Posted in discovery stages, donations, feedback, fundraising, support, Uncategorized by forgr on April 28, 2008

When you make donations to nonprofit organizations, what is the straw that breaks the camel’s back? What messages, promises, stories do they communicate that makes you want to give your hard-earned dollars to nonprofit organizations? Or, do you give without being asked?

Here’s another question for you, what would make you want to give to this particular project? What would we need to accomplish, for you as a citizen, to want to contribute your hard-earned dollars?

Why do I ask? About a month ago, I posted a fundable.com link asking readers of this blog to contribute a small amount of money to help with startup costs. Nobody gave.

I’m genuinely curious why you did not contribute. I’m not asking you to contribute now, no, this is not a tactic to guilt you into that… This is just a request to know what you thought when I posted that link.

Did you visit the link and change your mind once you saw nobody else giving their money?

Do you not trust the project’s intentions, or think that it has value?

Are you not able to give money at this time?

Would you feel more confident if we were an established 501 (c3)?

Did you not trust fundable.com?

Did it just turn you off?

Is this just not a cause that you want to give money to?

Did you just not see the post and request?

Would you rather give time rather than money?

Do you make contributions to other organizations instead?

Was it because it was not tax deductible?

Was it because you wanted to give to a specific program rather than a general start up fund?

… Or was it something else?

For your reference:

Nonprofit ((501 (c3)) organizations that I personally contribute my money and time to:

My Money: Heifer International, Michigan Public Radio, Goodwill, Changing the Present
My Time: Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, The American Red Cross of Greater Grand Rapids, Blandford Nature Center/Mixed Greens, The Race for the Cure, WMEAC

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One Response

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  1. smcmaster said, on April 29, 2008 at 9:08 am

    In my case the problem was/is simply one of cash-flow, a tightness around my checking account of unprecedented proportions. I felt badly about it, since, having responded pretty enthusiastically to the idea of the project, I wasn’t able to be there to put my money where my fingertips had been.

    In years past I’ve contributed to four non-profits. American Rivers (I’m not sure why or when I stopped giving to them). The American Farmland Trust (to which I expect to continue giving once the cash-flow is resolved). Blue Lake Public Radio (we recently moved to Northern Michigan; we’ll probably contribute to a station up here in the future). The Sight Seer, a Grand Rapids-based radio reading service for the blind and others who, for reasons of physical disability, cannot read for themselves (I was an on-air volunteer for several years, and stopped when we moved out of GR).

    In each case I contributed because of the alignment of the organization’s mission with my concerns. In the cases of my financial contributions, I responded to annual “membership” solicitations.

    I admit to some uncertainty about fundable. Not much, and about the same as any new thing I encounter on the internet. I wasn’t concerned about the tax-deductability issue per se (because of the tricky nature of tax deductions in general). However, as a proxy for credibility, I can see the lack of tax-deductibility as a potential problem.

    If the project is not a stand-alone non-profit or under the umbrella of another non-profit, then it might be more challenging to raise funds from people who do not have a direct or one-person-removed knowledge of the project. And that would go for any group. Suppose you came across an appeal for a dontion to an adult literacy project in Amarillo, TX–good idea, important issue, no organization for you check out, and you don’t know anyone working the project down there–do you donate? Do you become more likely to donate if it’s a pilot project under the auspices of the American Literary Council?

    Anyway, there’s my two cents. I wish it was more like real money…


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