The GIVING SEASON – the Ember Months of September to December – is in full swing, and men and women of goodwill like you are glaringly giving more of their money and materials as well as volunteer hours in support of charitable causes they know and believe in.
Our phone lines at DRMM are busier now than in February. The same is true of our safe donation page on DRMM.ORG. I have a greater number of face-to-face meetings with prospective individual and family donors now than in April or August this year. They call or email and request to meet to discuss their giving – which delights me beyond the ordinary, as you can readily imagine.
But why do they give more in “Ember Months” than at other months of the year?
The bandwagon is on the move: People tend to share their giving intentions, preferences and experiences with colleagues, friends and loved ones. It feels really cool to do so – especially when one knows it helps others turn on their emulation light.
Some parents use the season to model the importance of compassion to their children. They cut their donation checks when the children are watching, inspire the children to donate from their pocket money or ask the children to accompany them to make a donation at the offices of a local nonprofit.
Imagine a little girl asking a friend at Monday school if the parents made a charitable donation like her parents did last Friday. Or describing her experience accompanying her parents and siblings to a local nonprofit to make a donation of food boxes, clothes and shoes. That’s powerful!
Many companies have a policy of making end-of-year donations to their favorite charity, and encouraging their employees to do the same by offering to match their donations.
In effect, everybody knows it’s the time to give more, and nobody wants to be left out – not even kids.
The weather has something to do with it: When it’s cold, people tend to spend more time indoors with their colleagues, friends and loved ones. So, they find themselves learning more about the pressing needs of others – especially the hopeless and helpless – in the community.
They watch as a local news channel describes the plight of homeless men, women (including veterans) and children, and how some nonprofits come to their rescue with warming centers that provide clean beds, hot meals and shower.
They are moved with compassion and desire to give more than they have done earlier in the year.
Offshoot of shopping: September 1 to December 31 is also called the shopping season, when stores give consumers greater incentives to buy more items and more often.
But many of these stores, especially the national brands, also offer consumers the opportunity to give more to the poor and less privileged by placing donation boxes at strategic in-store locations or creating links to donation web page of partner nonprofits.
Some bolder stores even offer to donate a percentage of their net proceeds to designated nonprofits.
By so doing, they tend to stir their customers toward giving more this season.
Tax filing time is near: One of the many reasons nonprofits thrive better in the United States than elsewhere is the fact that donations to them are tax deductible.
The tax filing season – January 1 to April 15 – begins as soon as the GIVING SEASON ends. And that explains, in part, why people are usually in the mood of making tax deductible donations during the GIVING SEASON.
In fact, many vibrant nonprofits use new and old media channels to remind them to take advantage of such deductions before December 31.
Bonus is worth celebrating: In this tough economy, not everybody gets end-of-year bonus from their employer but those who do probably see it as something worth celebrating.
One remarkable way to celebrate end-of-year bonus is donating money and materials to a credible charity that is making a real difference in the community. Yes, it’s a wonderful thing to see one’s blessing as an opportunity to bless others.
Do you know other reasons people donate more during the GIVING SEASON? Please, share below.