Christmas celebrates the greatest gift ever given.

The Joy of Giving - a Christmas Meditation for Fundraisers

I love Christmas on so many levels. I love the time off, the friend and family events, the music, the food, and the significance. One of the things I especially love is giving gifts to my children.

I have four children, ages 6, 4, 2, and -3 months (the littlest one is due in March). I delight in thinking about and buying presents for my kids. So does my wife. We tell each other that it's time to stop shopping, only to have a last minute inspiration and confess to one another, "I just bought a ..."

My kids are at that special age where Christmas is the most anticipated event of their entire lives. My oldest son can tell you how many days are left until Christmas. He's been counting down for more than a month. We have already celebrated St. Nicholas's feast day (December 6th), which only whetted his appetite for presents. They get a little candy and some trinkets from St. Nick, but the big haul comes on Christmas day.

My joy in buying presents is matched by their joy in opening their presents. They have been giving me little hints about what they want pretty much since last February. So their excitement has been building to a fever pitch.

Fundraising - an invitation into the joy of giving.

The joy that I have in giving presents to my children reminds me of this wonderful and challenging work of fundraising. Too often, fundraisers get beaten down by the idea that they're going out and wringing money out of their donors. The fact that we hear 'no' so frequently reinforces this perception. It can be quite discouraging.

But what if we were to think of it a little more like we think about Christmas. A lot of good people out there want to make the world a better place. They see the suffering and the struggles of the people around them and they want to do something about it. And you, the fundraiser, get to be like the Christmas Elf who delivers the wish list to Santa. You get to invite them to make a gift that will make a difference in someone's life.

Taking this new perspective can make a world of difference. No longer are you like the bookie who is going out to shakedown a delinquent client. Now you're a jolly old elf. People welcome you because you're the agent that enables them to do something good that they want to do. Something that delights them and fills them with great joy.

Giving like God.

Christmas celebrates the ultimate gift, when God gave us His only Son. Giving of ourselves, giving sacrificially, satisfies us in a way that is supernatural, because we're following the model that we've been given by God Himself.

So I invite you as a fundraiser to view yourself as a messenger of great joy. The gift that you ask for today will be a source of great joy for the giver, especially if you do a good job of saying thank you and share stories of the impact of their gift in days to come. The 'thank you' and the reporting is a lot like their Christmas morning. Your donors want to enjoy the joyful smiles as someone opens a present they found under the tree.

So, Merry Christmas to all! I hope you have a blessed Christmas season and a Happy New Year. I'll be seeing you in 2020.

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