3 Ways to Multiply Your Giving

March 5, 2012

Everyone wants to get the most “bang for their buck,” right?  That’s the way we think when we go to the store or out to eat (see the success of Groupon), but do we approach our giving with the same mindset?

I ran across an interesting article by Dan Pallotta on the Harvard Business Review blog entitled “Multiplication Philanthropy,” and it got me thinking about how we can multiply the REAL effects that take place because of the money or time that we give away.  Here are three ideas – the first came from Dan’s blog, and the other two are from my own experience:

1.  Give to support fundraising.  In his post, Dan points out that “fundraising alone has the capacity to multiply money.”  If you designate a gift toward fundraising in a responsible non-profit, then whatever amount you give should be produce MORE funding to spend on projects or needs.  This is almost never done, though, because most people want to know that their dollar is going directly to need and isn’t pausing along the way.  It’s exciting, though, when people give by hosting a fundraising dinner that produces four times their investment, or by sponsoring a textbook drive for $1000, which can end up netting $3000 or even $6000 for CARE for AIDS!

2.  Teach a man to fish.  As the old saying goes, if you TEACH a man to fish, you’ll give him a lifetime of food and work.  If you can give toward a project that teaches, trains, equips, or empowers, then you’re actually multiplying the effect of your money.  In our ministry, for example, we could spend $250 to give a family enough food for maybe a year.  But, if we instead spend $250 to educate, train, encourage, and heal a parent, he or she can work to earn a living.  Then, they can buy $250 of food every year for the rest of their life!  That adds up…

3.  Give AND advocate .  Writing a check to a responsible organization can make a huge, huge difference, and some of us can write much bigger checks than others!  All of us, though, can talk about where our check is going.  Think about what prompted you to make your last few donations – was it a commercial, a mailing, a billboard, or was it a story you heard from a friend?  We’ve found that a personal testimony is one of the most effective ways to inspire gifts.  Even if you can only give a dollar, surely you know ten people you can share with.  Maybe one of them decides to give a dollar too, and your impact has doubled!  It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been to Africa, you can’t swing a hammer, or you have no idea how to do surgery – if you believe in something enough to give, surely you can tell someone else why!

Hopefully that gives you some ideas.  Whether you’re giving to CARE for AIDS or to one of the many other incredible organizations out there, there are many ways to maximize your impact.  Do you have other ideas?  Leave us a comment below and we’ll tell you what we think!

Here’s a link to the full article by Dan Pallotta: http://blogs.hbr.org/pallotta/2012/02/multiplication-philanthropy.html