Posted by: universallearningcentreblog | January 11, 2012

Your Turn!

As you’ll remember, yesterday’s post, ULC’s Essential Questions for 2012 was our response to 14 questions I found on Nonprofit Nate’s post, 29 Questions for better philanthropic conversations.  We have had a fantastic response to the post, with a nice spike in our subscriptions to prove it.  Thank you for reading!

Today will be a continuation, but now we turn the tables.  Now it’s your turn.  Below are questions I copied from Nate’s post.  I know most of you don’t tend to comment on our posts, but I’m asking you for a big favor.  Please help us understand your motivation for supporting causes, whether ours or others, so that we can improve what we offer our supporters and ensure that we live up to their hopes and expectations.

Don’t feel obligated to answer ALL the questions (although I’d love to read your answers!).  If you’d rather, feel free to pick and choose.  Not all of them may be applicable to you.  But do please share your thoughts with us.  It means a great deal to us.

  1. What’s the largest impact you’ve had on the world?
  2. The world needs band aids AND solutions to social problems. Which do you prefer to invest in and why?
  3. How do you plan on teaching your children about philanthropy?
  4. Are you hoping they (your kids) have the same community values or different ones?
  5. What’s been your best giving experience?
  6. What’s been your worst?
  7. What person has had the most influence on you and your life?
  8. How do you and your spouse/family make your philanthropic decisions?
  9. Do you prefer to give a little to several organizations or more to a few?
  10. What are your top 3 philanthropic interests and why?
  11. How long do you usually stick with an organization or issue?
  12. If you could volunteer full time – what would you do?
  13. How do you define success?
  14. What lead to you being successful?
  15. How can we give others those same opportunities?

If you’re not comfortable posting your responses, of course you may always email me at dana.jean@universallearningcentre.org, although I think your responses will be helpful to other nonprofits who might happen on this blog, so please consider posting your comments below.  Thank you so much for your help!

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Responses

  1. What’s the largest impact you’ve had on the world?
    I am an elementary teacher and I organized a donation process called H.U.G., an acronym for Help Us Give. We send home letters about the program and invite the students to bring in the items for those in need. We have collected new and gently used children’s books several times. Some of the books have gone to community based programs and once we sent 500+ books to a needy classroom located in an Philadelphia, PA. We have collected coins for that were sent to hurricane victims. We collected new hats, mittens, and gloves for a local organization that matches up the items with local kids. Our food pantry has received donations of boxed and canned goods, too. This program is totally voluntary and we emphasize that the “reward” for doing good, is “feeling” good about helping others not actual prizes or special rewards.

    The world needs band aids AND solutions to social problems. Which do you prefer to invest in and why?
    Band-aids. I know there is a need to change the system, but it hurts to know that others are hurting now. I like to know that in some way, they are getting some relief while the red tape is being reeled.

    How do you plan on teaching your children about philanthropy?
    Mostly by example and pointing out the needs that so often are overlooked by the press and other media. Having conversations with them about how much a little effort can go a long way for us and for the people that we help.

    Are you hoping they (your kids) have the same community values or different ones?
    Yes, I am hoping that they care about our world and their neighbors, global and locally.

    What’s been your best giving experience?
    The books that were sent to a needy school were near to me because as a teacher, I can understand how much of a difference those books made in the students lives.

    What’s been your worst?
    I was contacted by a person over the phone to give to the police fund. When the materials came, I realized my donation was going to a state run group, not our local police department. I felt like I had been duped. I still gave what I had promised, but have been very careful since then to make sure who is getting my money.

    What person has had the most influence on you and your life?
    There are some very important people in my life who have impacted me a great deal, but I would have to say that the biggest influence on my life would be my children. The reflection of myself through their eyes makes me want to be someone who makes a difference and who can help them do the same.

    How do you and your spouse/family make your philanthropic decisions?
    Unusual or bigger donations are talked about beforehand. Smaller ones are left up to each person.

    Do you prefer to give a little to several organizations or more to a few?
    It has never been a conscious thought about the numbers, but more to what touches our hearts.

    What are your top 3 philanthropic interests and why?
    1. Hunger, 2. Loneliness 3. Shelter: These three are the most senseless needs on our planet. So much food is thrown away every day! With the multitude of people on our planet, no one should be an island by themselves, and shelter…everyone deserves a home.

    How long do you usually stick with an organization or issue?

    If you could volunteer full time – what would you do?
    I think I would like to make sure people aren’t lonely. Visit others that feel like that they have been forgotten and make them realize that that isn’t true.

    How do you define success?
    A peaceful, glad heart. Laying my head down at night and knowing that at least for today, I did the best that I could.

    What lead to you being successful?
    Try. Fail, Try again, Fail again. Try, try,fail, fail, fail, try, try, keep trying…and well, some days there will be success and other days, not so much…just never give up on yourself or others.

    How can we give others those same opportunities?
    Spread the word, give thanks, let others share their experiences, and just never give up.

  2. Thank you for your thoughtful response!! Loneliness is not an “interest” I had considered and you have opened my heart to a new cause! There’s probably a world-wide epidemic of people in this world who feel alone. I’m glad there are people like you with that on your radar!

  3. What’s the largest impact you’ve had on the world?

    A few months ago I turned 60 and faced for the fact that my impact is time limited. As I look back on my life and career I see three areas when I have had an impact.

    I’m one of these people who have lived a balanced life by having two simultaneous careers. Since 1981 I have been a leader in an Mennonite intentional community in rural Illinois. In this role I have been involved with people in all stages of life from infant to elder, in religious life and businesses. I think my biggest impact has been to be a calming presence combined with encouraging people to develop their talents.

    In 1977 I began a career in the world of community nonprofits, initially in administration but soon I became a fundraiser, a field I’ve been involved in for 28 years. I hope my biggest impact is persuading the community nonprofit world that they should raise 80% of their funds by empowering volunteers to ask for gifts face to face.

    But perhaps my biggest impact on the world will be from loving my wife and our three children. All three are now grown and having an impact on the world as a director of a mental wellness for seniors in Florida. a nurse practitioner serving the poor of St. Louis, and a supervisor of engineers at a commercial heating and air condition firm in California’s Bay area. Two of them are married and changing the world through their children. I marvel at the impact each has on the world through love and talents.

    Thank you for giving this opportunity to reflect on my life.


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