Yearend giving: The Power Of The Small Donation : The Single Serving

Yearend giving: The Power Of The Small Donation

by Montgomery Area Food Bank on 12/10/13

‘Tis the season to be jolly. And to give.

Nonprofit organizations across the nation generate the lion’s share of their contributions during this last quarter of the year – with particular generosity exhibited at yearend, according to the DMA Nonprofit Federation.

That’s certainly true for us at Montgomery Area Food Bank (MAFB). And while we always welcome large contributions, because we’re dealing with hungry, hurting individuals and families, even the smallest yearend contribution goes a long way.

Most of us are fascinated by newspaper reports of a wealthy individual donating millions of dollars to her favorite charitable organization. We want to commend the generosity and willingness to share with those less fortunate.

But sometimes that admiration for such large gifts can leave the rest of us feeling intimidated when we pull out our own checkbooks to write a donation to our favorite charity. Will our check for $10, or maybe even less, really help anything? Do such small gifts really help charitable organizations accomplish much?   

The answer is a very strong yes. While nonprofit organizations certainly appreciate gifts of millions of dollars, there's a reason why newspapers write about them — they're very rare.  If a charity relied only on large gifts, it would be soon be bankrupt. 

According to the DMA Nonprofit Federation, the vast majority of charitable gifts are quite small. One reason is that many people prefer to support favorite charities over time, making several donations during a year. Donors may give in response to specific appeals, or may prefer to do something throughout the year, making a small gift on a regular schedule, such as in a monthly giving program. Giving that way, usually by credit card, also makes the whole process easier and more automatic.

Of course, one reason to spread out our gifts over the year is that most of us are not millionaires. Writing one larger check might be a strain on a budget, but the cost can be more manageable if the overall donation is spread out as a series of gifts throughout the year. That's why a regular giving program, such as being a monthly donor, can help both the donor and the charity budget more easily.  But even when small donations are received on a more random schedule, today's efficient charities know how to maximize the gifts' effectiveness.

Here at MAFB, every dollar donated enables us to provide more than 6 meals to local families in need. That’s well beyond anything that you can get at a grocery store, where a single can of beans or fruit can cost in excess of $1. The services we provide are absolutely critical to the health and wellbeing of more than 330,000 Alabamians who struggle to put food on the table – it’s a tremendous responsibility.

MAFB can only succeed with the help of volunteers and generous donors such as yourself.

Small gifts, of any amount, when multiplied by the millions upon millions of Americans who support our nation's charities, add up to a great deal that really does make a big difference. In fact, $316 billion of difference just last year. For MAFB, these collective donations enabled us to provide more than 20 million pounds of food to families in need last year – more than 660 tractor-trailer loads!

So when you read about a millionaire's gift, just know that by making a yearend contribution to MAFB, you're helping just as much, if not more.

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