“And” Not “Or”: The Heart of Generosity

When I think about inspired, joyful, generous investing in our world to make it a better place, I focus on “and”, not “or”.  Just as the funny commercial shows us – sweet or sour chicken, bed or breakfast –  “or” can be a bad idea, I find that “or” hurts our not-for-profits as well.  Generosity is all about AND.


I invest my intellectual capital in the organizations that matter most to me. I prepare for board and volunteer meetings, think about the issues, offer ideas, pay attention. I’m present.

I share my connections. Invite people to my home and to events. Make introductions. Facilitate strategic conversations about the societal problems we are trying to solve.
I invest money with an open heart as generously as I am able.

When we talk about things like “give or get,” “time, talent or treasure,” “work, wealth or wisdom,” we are selling our missions short:

  • Give generously AND help bring in additional resources. You can sell tickets; inspire friends to support your walk; help a CEO meet a foundation leader or government official you know; use social media to connect friends and their friends to a treasured cause.
  • Give generously AND volunteer your time. You can mentor, share expertise, help build a house or dig well, give a talk, offer an internship, give blood, serve on a task force, stuff envelopes.

AND represents generosity. It doesn’t matter how little time you have to give or how little money. For those of us who can do and give more, we should. Sharing makes us all richer, happier.  We love Katya’s Non-Profit Marketing Blog – here’s a classic piece from her blog on the science behind generosity.

Sharing makes the world a better place.

Make Room Black Friday and Cyber Monday- GivingTuesday™ is here!

By Yolanda Rahman, CFRE

As many of us prepare to stuff ourselves with turkey on Thursday and empty our wallets on Friday; there’s a new activity to add to our calendars:  November 27 is now GivingTuesday™.


GivingTuesday™ was created by 92nd Street Y, a New York-based nonprofit community and cultural center, in partnership with the United Nations Foundation.  It is a day to celebrate our country’s great tradition of generosity; a day for joining with colleagues, friends and family to support the causes we believe in; a day for giving.

To date, more than 1,500 organizations in all 50 states have pledged to take part and encourage their communities to participate and give whatever they can—money, expertise, time. Small businesses and major corporations, like Discover, are participating as well. As a part of their involvement, Discover is launching an employee giving program where they will match gifts plus make a bonus donation. They are also encouraging card members to donate their cashback bonus to the company’s charitable partners.

Today, I asked myself “What is my role?” in Giving Tuesday™?  The website lists several ways for individuals, families and businesses to get involved, but I wanted to make this even more personal and find a way to help those who are often overlooked in my community.

There’s a facility in my neighborhood that’s home to more than 200 severely mentally ill individuals. I often see them walking around town; shopping at the grocery store and even buying things from our annual garage sales. I often make eye contact and smile. But on GivingTuesday™ I want to do more than smile, I want to do something that would make them smile from the depths of their soul. So… I contacted my son’s elementary school principal and asked if the kids could participate in a card writing project for the residents of the home and he enthusiastically agreed. The Activities Director at the home was even more enthusiastic saying that this would probably be the only card many of the residents have ever received since living there.

On Tuesday November 27th, after meetings with clients, I will deliver the heartfelt cards from my son and his classmates and this time both the residents and I will be smiling. Now if I can only convince my husband to get his high school students do something on GivingTuesday™… That might take some extra pie on Thanksgiving and a 50% coupon for his Black Friday shopping.

We’d love to hear how you are participating on GivingTuesday™.  Send us a note on this blog, on Facebook or on Twitter. Together, we can make #GivingTuesday™ a permanent fixture on the calendar.

Happy Holidays!