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A good time to start giving time and money

December 6, 2018

The “San Antonio Gives” special section underscores that San Antonians have a multitude of choices if they want to help improve the lot of others through gifts of time and money. With more than 6,000 nonprofits in the area, deciding which to give to isn’t easy. Donors aren’t asked to choose between the good and bad, but between the good and the good.

There really aren’t any bad choices. All that’s needed is to align your personal values, interests and priorities with the missions of the respective nonprofits. Gifts of time and money are very closely tied. The more someone shares their time, the more likely he or she is to share their money.

America is an exemplary nation of givers. About 60 percent of U.S. households give to charity at an average yearly rate of approximately $2,500 per household. About 25 percent of the population volunteers its time, skills and passion. They build a better world by providing time, talent and treasure to meet myriad challenges in health care, education, animal welfare, economic development, the arts, the lives of children and seniors, and many other deserving causes.

Though we might lag behind other cities in corporate base and per capita income, San Antonians have demonstrated that they don’t give until it hurts but keep on giving until it feels good. Consider the success of The Big Give, the 24-hour day of online giving for South Central Texas. It has energized and made philanthropy fun for donors from a cross-section of socioeconomic and generational backgrounds. In 2018, more than $5 million was raised. The Sixth Annual Big Give will be held March 28.

Research from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University shows the more you give, the greater your life satisfaction. Across marital status, giving to charitable organizations is positively related to life satisfaction.

Each time I train and coach nonprofit fundraisers, I’m struck by what appear to be two strong cross-currents: the inspiring example of people from varying backgrounds in their commitment to improve the lot of others, and their reluctance to describe themselves as philanthropists.

Part of this may be explained by an inherent shared attribute of those who are generous and place others above self: humility. It’s an admirable virtue, but those who selflessly share time and money, regardless of amount, are unmistakably philanthropists, and they deserve our respect and emulation.

If you’re not currently sharing gifts of time and money, there couldn’t be a better time to get started. Did you know that about one-third of annual giving occurs in December? By doing so, you’ll be joining the ranks of the countless philanthropists next door.

Jim Eskin is a fundraising trainer/consultant in San Antonio with 25 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector.

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