Do you ever find yourself tongue-tied when anyone asks you “Why do you support this organization?” How do you answer? Or better yet, do you even have a specific answer?
Quite often I like to ask a donor this question and all too frequently there is an uncomfortable silence. Following a thoughtful pause, the donor answers with something like, “Well, my neighbor asked me to get involved,” or “Gee, I’m not sure, my family has always made an annual contribution” or “Hmmm, I ‘m not really sure, I just like the organization.” Creating your own philanthropic mission statement or mantra can help you answer with confidence!
Focus Your Giving
There is no doubt that today there is more and more competition for the philanthropic dollar. Need greatly exceeds available funds and the gap is increasing exponentially. So we need to prioritize how we direct our philanthropic dollars. You can give a little to a lot of organizations, or you can focus your giving to impact organizations that reflect your values and vision for a better world.
Craft A Mission Statement
If you want to maximize your current gifts, it’shelpful to create your own mission statement. Your statement can serve as your calling card to clarify, inform, and focus your giving. It’s a short statement to center your current giving and serves to build a deeper relationship with the people and institutions that best represent your values. It confirms to you and tells others the reason why and where you give your time, talent and treasure. Most statements, also known as an’ elevator speech’, are two or three sentences which paint a vivid picture of what you believe, what you do and how you will do it.
Find Your Authentic Voice
It may take a few drafts to get your “mantra,” but keep at it. This brief, positive, joyful and energetic statement represents your authentic voice on why and where you give for impact. Having such a statement also helps when you have to say “no” to a request that does not align with your values.
Here are two examples:
- “I believe that reading is the door to opportunity for young children. Therefore I give $250 each year to the library education fund to buy books for children age3 to 5.”
- “My priority in life is to bring dignity and respect to elders in my community. I serve on the fundraising committee to raise funds for Meals on Wheels and volunteer once a week to deliver meals.”
To give with confidence and purpose start writing your personal Philanthropic Mantra today.