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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

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Creative Philanthropy: What are you Wishing For?
Jacqueline Beretta

August, 2005

'If to be venerated for benevolence, if to be admired for talents, if to be esteemed for patriotism, if to be beloved for philanthropy, can gratify the human mind, you must have the pleasing consolation to know that you have not lived in vain.' George Washington to Benjamin Franklin, September 23, 1789.

  • Writing a check

  • Giving shares of stock and bonds

  • Volunteering at the zoo

  • Giving last years winter coat to a homeless shelter

  • Sending canned foods to your school so your child can share with another family at Thanksgiving

  • Baking cookies for a children's home at Christmas

  • Learning to be a docent at your local art museum

  • Financing a young person through college with a scholarship

  • Planning and executing a fundraiser/auction

  • Donating your car or mobile phone

  • Accepting a board position and planning to really participate in it's efforts

  • Reading stories to the elderly in the hospital

  • Nothing feels better than giving and sharing what we have been blessed with. Giving doesn't have to be measured in dollars and cents. Actually, the beauty of giving is the fact that it can be just about anything…anything at all.

    We are striving to help our community learn new ways to give through our new website We have created many useful tools that we will introduce to you over the next several weeks. One of the tools that we have built is an easy to use Wish List that can be used to list all of the items your organization might need. You may see our Wish List at

    Inspiring and educating a new donor is the first step to enticing them to be involved with your organization. Invite them to "tour" your organization and understand exactly what you are doing in the community and whom you are serving. Do not ask them for anything during this education stage. But do give them a folder with a description of your mission, your goals, a list of those involved on both a staff and board level, a list of successful measurable results your organization has achieved, and maybe even a Wish List.

    A Wish List

    This is a nice way to 'meet and greet' an individual, foundation or group who might have an interest in getting involved with you. Keep in mind that at this point you will have no idea to what extent they are considering a relationship with you. The donor may just be looking at all the organizations that interest their philanthropic spirit, like 'window shopping'. By softly educating them and not attacking them for money, you might inspire them to want to help. If they see items on your Wish List that they might contribute, then they begin to have a vested interest in your cause.

    By not asking them for anything directly, especially not money, you make the entire interaction with your potential donor pleasant and not awkward. Remember that by engaging them in this way, you may be cultivating a future donor who may give you a lot more later.

    What would you ask for if you could ask for anything in the whole world for your organization? How exciting to create that list of all the tangible items you might need for your nonprofit. And come to think of it, you can add intangible items as well. Baby bottles, tutors, advisors, computers, tickets to sports events….you name it. Different organizations need different things. Local companies probably have many items they would like to share.

    The holidays are good times to ask for In Kind donations. In fact, every day is a good day to post items you might need. Be sure and go to to post all of the items you wish for today.

    Wish List Savvy

    • Create your wish list - don't be shyPublicize it in your newsletter, on your website, and distribute fliers everywhereMake sure local companies have been contactedList a delivery location for the itemsDo not include any pricesList these items on so that we can broadcast your needs
    • Write thank you notes!


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