The holiday season is upon us. As the end of 2019 nears and a new year is on the horizon, Space Coast philanthropists will open their hearts and wallets to make Brevard a better place for all.

It’s a busy time of year with holiday parties, events, shopping and cooking – but that doesn’t stop people from giving. People give for a variety of reasons, but study after study attest to the benefits including making us feel happy, increases in health benefits and greater feelings of gratitude.

Why give?

Community nonprofits – and charitable support for them – are vital to our community. Also known as the Independent Sector, nonprofits fill the gap where government and business don’t operate, tending to unmet needs in the community. From feeding the homeless and protecting our environment, to community theatre, art and musical performances, Brevard nonprofits create “quality of life,” making the Space Coast a great place to live.

How do I start giving?

For many donors, charitable giving is a family tradition passed from generation to generation. If philanthropy isn’t already a part of your family beliefs, start with a family conversation around dinner. Your philanthropic support should be mission driven. What causes are important to you and your family? Do an internet search for organizations in Brevard that address those issues.

Learn & engage

Explore organizations’ websites and social media. Are you inspired by their programs and what they’re accomplishing? Make a gift. If you can’t, consider volunteering for the organization. Giving isn’t only about contributing financial resources.

Spectators never get into the record books.

What you should expect from the organizations you support?

New relationships. Charitable giving is often a deeply emotional experience. Talented fundraising professionals understand this and don’t just ask for gifts for the sake of soliciting money. They are relationship-builders and to do this successfully requires building relationships with their donors.

In addition to formally acknowledging your contribution, you might also receive a phone call from the development director, executive director or member of the board of directors. Take time to talk with this person. I promise, they won’t ask you for more money; they want to understand why you chose their cause and what motivated your gift. This is also the best person to talk with as you aspire to reach your charitable goals. You can be confident that they will act with transparency and integrity.

Engagement & communication of impact. After the first-time thank you call, the organization should keep you informed about their programs and services. How are they making a difference? What is the impact of your giving? The professional fundraiser will also assist you in engaging with the organization at the level you’re most comfortable. You can expect to be inspired by new stories relating the impact of their programs.

Celebrate

In a world seemingly brimming with negativity, it is important to remember the good that takes place. And there’s no better time than this season of giving to reflect and to honor the generosity and good-will of Brevard’s philanthropists. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation recognizing November 15 as National Philanthropy Day. On this day, and throughout the month of November, communities just like ours honor and recognize the role of philanthropy in building better communities. I invite you to join AFP, Space Coast on November 15th as we celebrate National Philanthropy Day.

May this be the day you begin really living through your giving.
~Douglas M. Lawson

Did you:
• make a financial contribution to a nonprofit in 2019?
• volunteer time in 2019 to a cause you believe in?
• share your knowledge or talent with a Space Coast nonprofit organization anytime during the year?