Nonprofit organizations thrive off of the donations from supporters.
The way these supporters decide where to donate can vary from person to person. Some of them have friends or family that work for the nonprofits. Others might have personal experience with a program that nonprofit runs.
But some donors might be inspired to help simply because they see somebody else helping.
Christine Kohls, certified fundraising executive at Raising Results in Beachwood, and Joanne Strasser, chief marketing officer at JewishColumbus in Columbus, said advertising a large donation publicly can encourage others to donate. But it is up to the donors’ preferences whether or not to publicize it.
“I think what’s really important is, regardless of highlighting who the donor is or whether that’s anonymous or not, it’s really just making sure we show the impact of those dollars and how they translate to make a difference in people’s lives,” Strasser said.
While Kohls also said publicizing donations is important, it is just as important to figure out where exactly to place those stories of generosity.
“The best place to start is where your donors are getting their news,” Kohls said. “A great example is the Cleveland Jewish News. A story published in print media may be shared widely on social media and elsewhere. Public radio stations and local television stations are also excellent sources. You’ll hear heartwarming stories about how philanthropy makes real change in our community by tuning into these sources.”
One story Strasser cited was the arrival of Michal Avera Samuel, JewishColumbus’ new shlicha, in late 2020. Samuel fled Ethiopia with her family at age 8 as part of Operation Moses and settled in Israel in 1984. Now, she helps to advocate for the successful integration of Ethiopian Israelis.
“Her story is really a story for everybody, how her family fled during Operation Moses from Ethiopia through Sudan to Israel,” Strasser said. “That’s a story that’s of interest to everybody, and that’s a story of something that we can all relate to as a country of immigrants. So that is something we were able to get traction on.”
Strasser said publicizing those kinds of stories inspire future generation of leaders.
“That’s something that’s really important to us, because we are really focused on young leadership and sustaining the viability of our community and making sure the next generation is poised to take the reigns,” Strasser said. “So, it really behooves everybody to share the good works of all the individuals of the community.”
Kohls added the community can rally behind heartwarming stories of leadership and giving.
“Generosity inspires generosity,” Kohls said. “We see this with online giving campaigns or with challenges or matching gift opportunities. When someone knows their gift may unlock another, they are more likely to give. And with large donations, nonprofits have an opportunity not only to talk about how that one gift will be transformative, but also ways that others can support different aspects of their mission. The story of a philanthropic gift can build a sense of community among donors through their shared experience and may inspire others to give as well.”