January 5th, 2011

by Ted Grossnickle

I was recently asked during a television interview for Inside Indiana Business what I thought major donors were thinking about now compared to a year ago.

My first response was that the majority of major and lead gift donors for our JGA’s clients have conveyed two key messages during the past six months:

First – we want to continue to be generous but we may take more time making up our minds, and

Second – we will shorten the list of causes we support.

My colleagues at JGA and I have heard these or variations on these themes for a good part of 2010, and we suspect that these will continue to motivate many donors in 2011.

The impulse to give and to help people is universal and deeply felt. And while we all noted the declines in gifting this past year we also can choose to help our donors and friends continue to give what they can. In fact, it may be that the act of giving becomes even more important for the donor during a time like this.

Traditionally, it’s been my orientation to think about the impact of gifting on the organizations we serve – and that is perhaps as it should be.

But I also wonder if the decision of so many around our State and nation to continue gifting – even when they perhaps are doing so from a reduced base of assets – signals something very important.

It may mean that giving is itself an important way of reminding ourselves that we can have a positive impact, that we can make things better for others and that we can do with a bit less ourselves.

If that is one of the legacies of this very tricky and difficult economic time, then perhaps we will all end up a bit stronger in the years ahead.

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