Once again, ‘tis the season.
For the nonprofit world it is, of course, giving season, when donors dig deeper than at any other time of year.
And for the whole world, it’s traditionally the season to take stock of the year that’s ending, while looking ahead with resolve – and resolutions – to the one that’s ahead.
As we reflect on 2022, we’re heartened by the generosity we see every day. That spirit of generosity was abundantly evident just a couple of weeks ago, as GivingTuesday set yet another record: $3.1 BILLION raised on that one day in the United States alone. That’s up 15% from last year, far outpacing inflation and flying in the face of fears that donors would pull back on giving as their cost of living climbed.
Asha Curran, CEO of GivingTuesday, says “whatever it is that people are experiencing, they were as generous as they had the capacity to be.”
That generosity takes many forms, including the precious gift of time. The Center for Nonprofits says more than 1.6 million people volunteer at New Jersey nonprofits every year, providing about 225 million hours of service valued at more than $5.3 billion.
Along with giving time and money, there is also the power of lending one’s voice to causes that make a difference. One of the most inspirational voices this year belonged to Dolly Parton. She was awarded the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy, as well as $100 million from Jeff Bezos to give to charities of her choosing. Parton’s Dollywood Foundation was founded almost 35 years ago, and her Imagination Library, started in 1995 to honor her father, who couldn’t read, gets books into the hands of children – more than 193 million books and counting. She donated $1 million toward development of a COVID-19 vaccine. She recently started the Care More program, giving employees of her Dollywood Parks and Resorts time off to volunteer at nonprofits of their choice. And there are countless other ways Parton, one of 12 children born into deep poverty in rural Tennessee, has quietly given back over many decades, avoiding publicity and fanfare.
What’s her giving strategy? “I just give from my heart. I just see a need and if I can fill it, then I will.”
Parton has a message about “doing something decent and good and right” that we can all take to heart as we look ahead to the new year. “I think it’s important for everyone to do their share to help their fellow man.” She adds, “when you help somebody, it helps them, but it can help you more.”
Here’s to a happy, healthy – and helping – 2023!