The Season of Giving

OpEd by Marnie Taylor
President & CEO

This week, Americans participated in GivingTuesday. While the day is inspired by “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday,” it puts philanthropy and the charitable sector into an important spotlight during the end-of-year festivities.

It also acts as an important front “book-end” to the time of year that is so important to nonprofits.

So why is this time of year so important for nonprofits? Much of it is cultural. Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude. Both Christmas and Hanukkah, celebrations of giving, occur at the end of the year, hardwiring many of us to give. With GivingTuesday on the front end and a looming Dec. 31 tax deadline on the other, it is a busy time for the charitable sector.

Last year, Americans gave $373 billion to charity, more than a billion dollars per day. Of that, eight of ten of those dollars came through individuals, either by contributions or bequests. Foundations and corporations composed the other 20 percent. One other factoid about giving is that 31 percent of all contributions come during the month of December, and 12 percent comes during the last three days of the year. These numbers prove the argument that the charitable giving incentive’s importance dominates the charitable giving landscape.

This year, as in years past, I am hopeful that Oklahomans will continue to dig deep and give generously to their nonprofits of choice. We are one of the country’s most generous states, and nonprofits rely heavily on people to help fuel the missions that alleviate so many of the challenges we face. With the downturn in the energy economy and cuts in state funding, the needs are greater and funding more scarce. We as philanthropists can step up and help our nonprofits thrive.

And for my nonprofit colleagues and friends, use this time to connect with donors in a meaningful way. Send thank-you cards, pick up the phone and visit with your donors, and be sure to tell them about the impact their gifts have on the community. While we are busy, taking the time to thank our donors in a meaningful way creates stronger, more lasting bonds.

To quote my friend, Mike Turpen, “If ya ain’t givin’, ya ain’t livin’!”

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season to celebrate with family and friends.

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