Wise Giving Wednesday: Giving By Example

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calendar icon Apr 07, 2021

One of the principle lessons in charitable fundraising is that donors contribute when they are “asked” either through direct mail, telephone calls, online requests, grant proposals, fundraising events and/or social media. If there is no ask, there generally is no gift. Of course, there are exceptions to this, especially when people respond to disasters and tragedies by donating to relief and assistance groups addressing emergency needs. However, an article appearing in the Burlington Free Press on April 6th provides potential insight on another motivation: being inspired by others who give.

As reported in the Burlington newspaper, there is a bulletin board in a Vermont State Park where a local resident tacked a dollar bill and challenged others to do the same. The cumulative amount is collected after a period and given to a food pantry. This dollar bill tacking has apparently become a tradition with dollars tacked to the board each year. This time $170 was donated to the pantry. The paper adds that this activity was an experiment in honesty by the organizer.

This story has a number of interesting elements. Although one could claim that word-of-mouth sharing about this activity could be deemed to be a type of “ask,” the real prompt for many to give is seeing other dollar bills tacked to the same board and emulating that behavior. It became a type of peer pressure from the community, to follow other people’s good intent, and to do so anonymously.

The concept of anonymous cash donations is not new, we have all seen contribution quarter boards placed on the counters of sandwich shops by well-known charities or the bell-ringing kettle campaigns by the Salvation Army during Christmas. What’s different, in this instance, is the simplicity of the display and the unusual location for an act of charity.

We are not suggesting that anyone undertake a similar anonymous dollar bill collection in their own community, but the lesson in Vermont shows us that people can sometimes surprise you in their generosity and given the right elements can inspire others to follow suit. We all can do more to help inspire others to contribute to charities. And, of course, we encourage donors to check out organizations to verify if they meet the BBB Charity Standards.

Video of the Week

As part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide a video featuring Pamela Timmons, Executive Director of Good Shepherd Ministries of Oklahoma (a BBB Accredited Charity) which seeks to provide free health care for those who are low-income and uninsured in Oklahoma City, including medical services, dental services and prescription medications.

Recent Reports

We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:

Finally, remember to let us know by going to give.org/charity-inquiry if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.

H. Art Taylor, President & CEO
BBB Wise Giving Alliance





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