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Matt Beem
President and COO
Kinetic Fundraising, Inc.

Compound your giving

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Independence, MO – Kate and I were talking the other night at the kitchen table. We often replay the day’s activities while typing away on our laptops after the kids are in bed.

Our recent night’s conversation turned to the nonprofits we’d support with year-end gifts honoring friends and relatives. Kate’s aunt and uncle honored us 10 Christmases ago with a charitable gift to a Kansas City organization, and we’ve enjoyed doing the same for others ever since.

We have the honor gift discussion about this time every holiday season. It’s interesting to reflect on the organizations we believe most deserve our support in recognition of others.

Early on, our views varied. Kate suggested nonprofits that were important to the people we were recognizing, and I offered up organizations that meant a lot to me.

No surprise there, right? Must be a gender thing.

More recently, though, our choices have converged.

And what’s most interesting are the organizations our discussions yield: These days, the Christmas gifts we make in others’ honor go to nonprofits we believe are important to our community.

It’s gratifying to reflect on the evolution of our annual honor giving ritual. We’ve come a long way and are excited about the gifts we’ve made for others in 2010.

I encourage you to give in another’s honor this holiday season. Making a charitable gift to an organization you embrace in honor of a person you care about yields a special satisfaction.

And if you think giving in recognition of others is out of your league, think again. Most honor gifts are between $10 and $25.

What’s more, they pack a two-for-one punch. Honor gifts benefit the person they recognize and the organization that receives them.

Beyond the people they honor and the nonprofits they reward, honor gifts yield three benefits:

  • They set a philanthropic example. If Kate’s aunt and uncle hadn’t given in our honor a decade ago, we might not be making year-end honor gifts today. And because we are, others may have started the practice and begun introducing it to their relatives and friends.

  • They encourage us to thoughtfully choose the organizations we support. When we give for ourselves, a host of motivations – self-satisfaction, others’ attention, public recognition – influence our decisions. But when we give for others, we’re more likely to support organizations that best reflect those we’re supporting and most deserve our philanthropy.

  • They promote strategic giving. As we talked across the kitchen table the other night, Kate and I brainstormed a long list of worthy nonprofit organizations before making a powerful discovery: One alone provides a resource integral to the others’ missions. We consequently chose to support the organization whose benefit radiates through dozens of metropolitan Kansas City nonprofits.

It wouldn’t surprise me if some of you, my 13 readers, are asking: “What gives, Beem? Do you think about anything but giving?”

I actually do: Family, church, Scouts, running, soccer.

But I do think about giving a lot.

And I encourage you to think about it more.

Philanthropy holds unparalleled power – for each and every philanthropist – to positively impact our community, country and world.

That power is yours for the taking. And year-end honor giving, available through Dec. 31, is your real-time opportunity to make a lasting mark.

Go for it. ‘Tis the season.

> Matt Beem Bio