April 4, 2010

This is so amazing…from Uncle Bill and Aunt Beth in Gloucester MA to their nieces and nephews. Sharing and teaching and learning all in one. Nurturing young donors. Obligation and reciprocity. Please read the whole thing.

Maybe you want to copy this gift and letter from Beth and Bill.

Enclosed is a holiday gift for you from the both of us…By now you are old enough to know that no matter how much money you have, there are others who a lot less. By now, you are old enough to know that there is a lot in this world that needs fixing. By now, you are old enough to know how good it can feel to actually help someone else by giving them something – like your time or your skills or your money. By now, your parents have tried to teach you how important it is to share what we have in this world.

So the $100 gift enclosed comes with this deal…..

— You need to give 1/4 of it – or $25 – back to the world. It is up to you whether to donate it to some organization, or to use it in some other way to help make this planet a better place.

— In order to receive any birthday money next year, you need to tell us how you used the $25 well before your birthday.

— And, if you do that, for your next birthday, you’ll receive $125 from us. In other words, we’ll give you more money next time if you follow the deal. (But we’ll also ask you to give away 1/4 of that, too.)

So in the spirit of sharing this holiday season, here’s a gift from us. We love you lots. And we look forward to hearing back from you.

Isn’t this amazing? I know that some people ask children to save and give, not just spend. There are piggybanks divided into 3, just for that purpose. I like how this letter says — tell us how you spend the money; tell us how you make the world a better place. Our own donors want to know that. I like the preaching, preaching in the best sense in this letter. (By the way, both Bill and Beth are Unitarian Universalist ministers. And Bill is the former executive director of Amnesty International USA. Unitarian Universalism works on proactive anti-racist engagement and in support of same sex marriage. Watch this video, “standing on the side of love.”)


About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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