By Lauren Kotkin, ASF
There’s a phenomenon that started a few years ago in major urban areas. Perhaps you live in a city, or visited one, and experienced this. You’re walking down the street and two young people in matching t-shirts holding clipboards stand right in front of you and ask, “Do you care about kids?” They want you to say yes so you can sign up for their organization’s e-list and become a donor.
I am formerly an early childhood educator, so yes, I do care about kids. But the next question is if I have time to stop on my way to the Metro, grocery store, home, etc., to talk about a charity that raises money to help children, and even more importantly, still, is whether I will give.
And that’s when I hatched my plan.
Wouldn’t this be a perfect way to promote ASF’s Getting to Impact initiative? In a (tiny, tidy, and neat) nutshell, the ASF Getting to Impact curriculum is about focusing your giving, learning from your experiences, and tweaking your giving to reflect that learning. Key to the success of impact is setting priorities. So for my grand plan, we could have cards printed that say, “Focus Your Giving!” with details about the impact initiative and hand them to the young mercenaries, I mean, fundraisers. Or, we could distribute the cards to fellow pedestrians (aka engaged citizens, aka potential donors) to encourage them to focus their giving. The world will change! It will be splendid!
But it’s not unrealistic to focus your giving. After hearing about focus for the past few years, I decided in my personal philanthropy to focus my giving. While I have much (much) less to give than a typical small funder or donor, I have outlined three priorities. This makes it infinitely easier for me to say no to requests when they don’t fall under one of the three. And my hope is that by giving more within my priorities, I am giving to strong organizations that will help increase my impact in my community.
How about you? Why do you focus your giving, either personally or with your foundation’s giving?
For more on the ASF Getting to Impact initiative, join me next week for the webinar, Achieving Impact With Gifts of All Sizes, Tuesday, October 25 at 1:00 p.m. ET.
Senior Program Director Lauren Kotkin joined ASF’s educational programs team in 2007 and plans conferences, seminars, conference calls, and webinars. Before moving to Washington, DC, in 2005, Lauren was the education director of a children’s museum near Boston, managing the facility and developing and delivering programs for educators, museum colleagues, children, and families. Lauren is an artist and exhibits and volunteers for Artomatic, an annual month-long art festival in Washington, DC.