Avoiding the Impulse—relationships

A great deal of money will be changing hands over the next couple of weeks and a lot of it will not be in holiday shopping. Americans will donate more than $48 billion to charitable organizations and causes during the months of November and December, much of it in the last waning weeks of the year.

For those organizations that have spent the past eleven months building new ties and renewing old ones with donors, this is more a time for a planned “harvest” rather than a last-minute, urgent appeal. There are a number of organizations that tend to live “in the moment”, however, and appeal to donors with an urgency that preys on impulse. In the din of all of these requests, Americas will be generous; they will give—even impulsively.

Americans want to be generous. They feel good about their giving. When they give on impulse, there is still the opportunity for the recipient charity to “make good”—to treat them as investors, not impulsive buyers. Even those that give impulsively in response to a shrill appeal, they too, want their gifts to “count.”

Those organizations that treat an “impulse giver” as a valued investor will reap their real harvest next year, and the year after and the year after that. Those that don’t will have gained a one-time gift this year and most likely will have lost a donor forever. Think long-term, think relationships.

Larry C. Johnson
M. E. Grace & Associates