Simple gifts at the end of the year

I suppose the simplest gift is money. Our mailboxes are full of requests for end-of-the-year donations. The children in our lives over the age of 7 also prefer money, but that's a different story.

Last week, I took the mailing from a group where I serve as a board member to the post office bulk mail, and already we've received a couple of checks. As for me, I'm sitting with a stack of addressed envelopes from a dozen groups, including one to NCR. But I haven't figured out yet how much I can give to each group. So I haven't written the checks and mailed the envelopes. But I will.

The statistics say most of us give to five or six organizations each year. But only about 7 percent will respond to the mail appeal from groups we know. Only 2 to 3 percent will give to bulk mail appeals from groups that got our names off some list. On the other hand, a quarter of us will send money in response to a phone call, and half of us will say yes to a face-to-face appeal. That's why we get those phone calls during dinnertime. But a $100 check in the mail is an invitation to the organization to come a little closer.

I say all this to give you (and me) heart as we sort through that stack of asks from groups we know and care about. Those letters were written with care and love. Indeed, the bulk mailing I delivered was all hand-addressed. Several of us board members wrote the addresses to encourage previous donors to open the envelope and read the letter.

The donor mantra is to ask you to give until you feel it -- and it feels good.

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