Why Give?

December 12, 2012

By Zadra Ibanez

Giving back

IEA held its annual fundraiser Thursday night, and we were thrilled with the event. It was a great success! Nita Millstein, the owner of The Peach Café in Monrovia, California, generously donated the space for our event, which included a plated dinner and silent auction. Among the attendees were IEA Board Members Ken Merchant, Jeff Hudson, Donna Ford and Jonathan Shintaku. The entire IEA Staff attended as did many parents of program participants. Through the silent auction alone, we raised over $2,000, with items donated entirely by the IEA staff. We are also pleased to announce that 100% of the auction proceeds will go directly towards supporting the children and families we serve.

The feedback and support we received on Thursday reaffirmed our belief that IEA’s dedication to creating programs honoring and nurturing the whole gifted child is valuable and important to many people. To further demonstrate this fact, 100% of the IEA staff had contributed a monetary gift to IEA before the end of October, and 100% of the IEA Board has contributed, as well.

When looking at donor trends as reported by Charity Navigator, we see that, on average, most donors intend to give roughly the same amounts in 2012 as they did in 2011. However, those donors who reported that they expect to give less than they did in 2011 expect to give significantly less in 2012, while those donors who anticipate contributing more generously than they did last year only expect to give slightly more in 2012.

What does this mean for IEA? It means that we are relying on a greater number of donors giving small amounts to help the kids we serve in the same way that a few donors giving larger amounts can. No gift is too small. Every gift matters.

This leads us to consider: Why do people give? What compels a person to donate and to donate to a specific organization? IEA believes in giving back to our community and encourages the staff to support charities including, but not limited to, IEA. For example, we are collecting canned goods for the local senior services center in South Pasadena, a project started by our own Kate Williams.

Here are just a few of the reasons why I give, personally (in no particular order):

1. To show my support for a friend or an organization I believe in.

Many of my friends work with projects that provide a great service to the community. This can range from arts/culture/humanities to animal rescues to human services-based programs. I enjoy supporting the work of my friends by contributing to these causes.

Of course, I don’t think I’ve ever given a donation to an organization that didn’t ask. Often, I will be searching for information on a website and there will be a request for financial gifts or in-kind donations directly on the page. While no one called and asked me specifically to give, seeing the organization’s need sparks my altruistic intentions.

2. To help change the world or to give others a chance that I didn’t have.

Many contributors want to feel like they are helping to change someone’s life. Many of the organizations they give to provide programs that focus on helping individuals take care of themselves, such as Heifer International or the Boys and Girls Club of America.

3. Wanting to be connected to a community – to be part of the crowd.

Schools often employ this with their alumni programs. At IEA, we encourage a friendly spirit of competition among our programs and encourage parents from each of our programs to give. In some cases, the alumni have even set up contests to see which class can contribute the most! It is all in good fun and supports a worthy cause.

4. Feeling fortunate or guilty.

Sometimes people give because they feel a wealth and want to share with others less fortunate or just to demonstrate gratitude for something beneficial. I feel this way when visiting museums or the Botanic Gardens. Other times, as in the cases of food drives, I want others to have what I have.

But sometimes, I feel powerless to undo a past wrong and want to make up for it somehow. Once, I ran over a raccoon. It was dark; it was raining; and I didn’t see it. I felt horrible! When I got home, I researched what to do in case of an animal emergency and the Greenwood Nature Center of Colorado had a list of what to do. I sent a donation to Greenwood in memory of Rocky Raccoon. I couldn’t undo the past, and I don’t believe money will buy me peace of mind, but I do feel that I am making a difference to other animals, even if I couldn’t help that one.

5. Tax write-offs.

Yes, this is a major motivating factor for some and is one reason many gifts are received at year end. Another reason is that the holidays inspire giving. For me, sometimes I just forget to give until the last minute. : p

Whatever your motivations for giving, this is the perfect time to support and donate to worthy causes, especially if you feel that they provide value to your day—or to the day of others. To contribute to IEA, please visit our website.

Why do you give? Please share with us in the comment section below.

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