By Rene Gellerman, President & CEO of United Way Quad Cities
In our line of work, we do a lot of thinking about what motivates people to invest in charitable causes. I recently asked my LinkedIn network and surveyed our own United Way team to find out why they donate. What I learned was inspiring, so I thought I’d share it with you.
First, some perspective on giving. Blackbaud recently reported that the average donor in the U.S. was more generous in 2021 than ever. As we progressed into Q1 of 2022, there was a slight decline in donations from individuals but that increased significantly in Q2.
According to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP), a collaboration that tracks and evaluates trends in giving across the United States, overall major giving ($1,000 or more) and online giving grew Q2 quarter at a faster pace than expected and, employees are paying more attention to how they, and their workplace, can make their community a better place.
Behind the scenes at our United Way, our team serves as a trusted corporate social responsibility extension to over 250 local businesses and organizations that represent over 15,000 employees.
Our goal is to help these workplace partners address the increasing expectations of their stakeholders, positively impact the community and achieve successful business outcomes. We do that through employee workplace campaigns, brand partnerships and coordinating volunteering and community engagement.
Here are the top reasons businesses and organizations choose to partner with United Way Quad Cities:
- Contributes toward a safer, more prosperous community in which to live and grow their business/organization.
- Enhances the reputation and visibility of their business/organization by using our brand to build their brand.
- Builds morale, loyalty, and productivity of their employees.
- Creates a strong culture of caring to attract and retain the right kind of employees and customers.
- Invests contributions wisely in a network of 51 highly vetted and respected QC non-profit/grassroots organizations.
But what about individuals? I went to our United Way staff members to learn from them. While the motivation to give back and our giving goals may be different, we all come together every year to personally support our United Way mission to mobilize people and resources to improve lives and our region.
Our small but mighty team of 20 has set a goal of $29,000 for our own United Way work this year. This is a testament to the commitment of our United Way family and an overwhelming internal endorsement of the work we do to ensure every Quad Citizen, regardless of race or ZIP code, is given the opportunity to develop their full potential.
I’m sure you have your own reasons for giving back, perhaps reading our team's thoughts will allow you to reflect on why you give back and who or what inspired you to be more generous. Who knows, maybe you will even be motivated to make your own gift to our cause if you haven’t yet.
1. Giving Back Makes Our Quad Cities Stronger
Giving back in the place we live can give us meaning and help us feel as though we’re part of something bigger. When you give back, you cause a ripple effect in your home town. It makes things happen. It touches our neighbors, that touch other lives, that still touch others. You help the people who are most vulnerable have a better chance at success. When they succeed, they can take care of their family and give back to the community as well.
2. Impact Change
We know that if we want to impact change, our actions matter. Whether we are simply an advocate towards a certain cause, volunteering at a local organization or donating, the act of giving back makes a difference for the person, organization and community.
3. Recognizing Privilege
No matter where you grew up, you likely were taught the notion that what you give is what you get back. But for many of the people on our team, giving back is simply the act of acknowledging your own privilege and using the power and resources you have to help those less fortunate.
4. Brings Happiness
Dr. Elizabeth Dunn, Chief Science Officer at Happy Money, found in her research that individuals who donate money to charity report being happier than others. The reason to give to charity can be as simple as it makes us happy.
Whether you give back to make your community better, inspire change, help those less fortunate, or spark a little happiness in your life, you're making a difference. We all have our reasons for giving, so as we approach this "giving season," I hope you are motivated to give to a cause that matters to you.
Every dollar matters, just like every person.