Spring has sprung, finally. Its trend of renewal with re-birth, growth, life and giving is found in our gardens, our lawns, the sweet smell of flowers blooming...
Spring’s trend of giving is even beginning to be found in how we, as a nation, are changing.
Like the first shoots of spring flowers, stories of this trend began to peep up through the media noise of layoffs and deficits, failing industries, failed leadership....
Last week. I noticed a number of their stories just beginning to peep up ever so slightly in mainstream media.
Donors to and their donations increase at local food banks. USAToday reported that the numbers of people seeking help through local food banks is on the rise. But so are the number of donors and the amounts of their donations.
In a USA TODAY survey of a dozen large food banks, 10 of 12 said food or cash donations are at least 20% higher than a year ago.
"We have more donors than ever before," says Robert Bush of the East Texas Food Bank. “The number of donors is up 115%, and their average gift increased from $49.66 to $56.37.”
More giving for the sake of those who need.
Forbes recently carried at article titled The End of Conspicuous Philanthropy?
Analyzing gifts greater than $1 million announced between June 2008 and April 2009, The Chronicle of Philanthropy noted that 80 were made anonymously, or nearly 19% of the 422 total for the period. By comparison, during the past decade only about 3% to 5% of such gifts were made anonymously...
Granted, there is news that with the declining economy, the total amount of dollars given philanthropic organizations may decline. But it does point to a nascent trend among large private donors that more see donations as an act of giving for those who need, rather than as an act of personal branding or tactic of a PR campaign to boost the donor’s image in their community.
Trend watching recently titled this Generation G for Generosity. They highlight some of the trend towards increased giving with this:
“Over the past few years, billionaires around the world have been upping the ante for other financially independent individuals by giving away really big chunks if not all of their fortunes. In fact, it's impossible these days to be very rich and not to donate uber-generously to charity: the benefit to one's social capital completely trumps the monetary gains from keeping one's financial capital sitting in an account.”
And it continues with:
“But. The most important driver behind GENERATION G is a wide variety of consumers and citizens being more generous. We're talking the collaborative / free / creation / crowdsourced / gift / sharing movement* that—especially online—has unlocked in entirely new ways the perennial need of individuals to be appreciated, to be loved, to feel part of the greater good, to contribute, to help.”
BAM, as Emeril would say.
I noted these stories. But, I noted them in a way much like I note the shoots of flowers just peeping up in early spring. Huh, interesting. There’s one.
That is until Kare Anderson of Moving from Me to We talked about my g-g-g-generation. I asked her what were the prospects for the boomer, the me-me-me, generation to move from selfishness to selflessness, from it being all about me to all about we. She quickly disagreed with the premise. Boomers, she said, were looking for meaning in their individual lives, our individual lives. And in some sense we found it. But how we found it primed us, made us hungry for real meaning with connections, community, from helping others through...giving.
The light went on as I heard this. Or the sun came out, really. Like a spring day, and we saw the promise from winter’s pentup demands for growth, renewal, life...
There’s a huge pentup demand for giving. And stories like these are the first signs of life, of renewal, of our ability to re-create, renew, ourselves and our economy and our country. And it’s made manifest now in our ability to...give. To give to others.
And these first signs are the signs that the trend for the future is giving....more giving. We’ve moved from me to we. And we...we'll be okay.