An investment in OUR future.
In todays, “It’s all about me!” climate, what is the motivating factor for some to give back to society? Perhaps it’s societal obligation, a need for community recognition, guilt, or for some, a true desire to provide for others. Regardless of the motivation, a society that doesn’t support itself is destined to become isolative, hierarchical and stagnant. “It’s all about me” is essentially the mantra to all of the failed states throughout history.
One of our employees tells the story about the time he traveled to an African country in support of a local charitable group. While there, he couldn’t help but feel shocked at how underdeveloped the country was considering the fact that the US had contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to the government over the years yet there appeared to be nothing to show for it. The infrastructure (roads, utilities, water, education) was practically nonexistent. When he enquired to his local contact, he was informed that the government was not utilizing the funds for which they were intended and in fact were being spent on “special interests” and personal use. He found this blatant disregard for societal care and protection to be infuriating and yet the residents had conceded that “there is nothing that will be done about it”. That explains why a country rich in resources and significantly older than the United States remains an impoverished state.
Self-preservation can be rationalized as “one of the human conditions” but if that is the case, how is it that some people push greed aside in support of the “greater good”? It’s not because they are told to do it but because they are drawn to do it. There was a time when tax incentives helped to motivate people, but not so much anymore. What you see today is primarily the result of habitual giving – people and organizations that provide support to others because it is the right thing to do. In a recently published article by Taylor Schulte, “Charitable Giving Statistics for 2023”, the least likely reason for people to give is so they can get a tax break. Regarding corporate versus individual giving, the article stated that only a fraction (20%) of donations come from corporations.
As individuals, it is just as easy to justify holding on to something as it is to let it go. Meaning, regardless of financial status, some people can easily find excuses for holding on to their time and money. For others, it is just as easy to justify giving these resources away. This was definitely the trend in 2020. According to “Giving USA”, Americans gave $471B to charities, and this was during Covid. Interestingly enough, Schulte states that of those contributing, households making less than $50,000 a year give more in relation to total income than those in all other income ranges, except the highest earners. High net worth families donated, on average, $29,269. Interestingly enough, Americans give 7 times more than their European counterparts. This may be attributed to the fact that 60% of American households (according to The Philanthropy Roundtable), participate in some kind of charitable giving.
Contributing one’s income, time and talents has proven results. By giving back to society, we help to make it a better place, one person/corporation at-a-time. It has been said that “it is better to give than to receive”. These are not words originated by a recipient, but one that recognizes the value to oneself by giving freely and genuinely. Think about the value you provide to society as you contemplate a spirit of giving.