The New “Widow’s Mite”
It’s no surprise that we need the rich to give in order for congregations and non-profits to thrive. As Ken Berger from Charity Navigator said, “About 70% of all charitable giving in the U.S. is given by the wealthy in this country. If we didn’t have the rich giving the way they are giving, between 70% and 80% of all charitable giving in the U.S. would disappear overnight. Trashing the wealthy isn’t fair.”
That’s true and…it’s time to celebrate even the smallest sacrificial gifts of people who believe in you and give you “their all.” A recent e-mail newsletter from Lisa Joyce of Pentacle Theatre in Salem, OR highlights this very thing:
We have a faithful donor -- I'll call him Richard -- who sends us $5 every month from his room at the Oregon State Hospital. Over the two years I've been Pentacle's executive director, Richard and I have developed a lovely relationship through our exchanged letters. He saves to buy stamps and envelopes, and writes his notes on the back of used Sudoku puzzles.
This month, he was unable to make a gift due to a change in his employment status.
However, he still took the time to write us a lovely letter explaining his situation and committing to resuming his regular giving as soon as he was able. I read his letter to one of our amazing board members who was then moved to make an anonymous gift in Richard's name.
This is a long way of saying that each gift -- no matter the size -- deepens our connection with this wonderful community and makes great theater possible.
I love, love, love this story. I love it because it’s not just about the monthly check. It’s about relationship. It’s about Richard’s generosity inspiring generosity in others. It’s about celebrating community. It’s a reminder that each person, no matter their social status, or where they live, or how much they give…each person is important and is worthy of being seen.
Who are your “widows”? Maybe it’s time to go find your rays of sunshine, make connections, and thank them for their sacrificial gift. Even George Clooney would approve.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. Next year’s spring break: sun, unicorns, and George Clooney. She was the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at email@example.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.