September has always been my favorite month. It’s a great combination, like Marie Osmond, who was a little bit country, and Donny Osmond, who was a little bit rock and roll. We get to enjoy warm days and cool nights; the perfect mix of summer and fall all rolled into one. I love smelling a campfire, hearing the marching band play, and drinking hot beverages. Can you say PSL? (That’s short for Pumpkin Spice Latte for you fall beverage newbies out there.) Annnnnddd, it’s my birthday month! I know a ton of people who have fall birthdays and rightly so in Indiana—nine months ago it was really cold outside! 😉
Each September I enjoy birthday wishes from people I see every day and people I haven’t seen in 20 years! But, my husband, who is awesome despite this story I’m about to tell you, has had a tough time with birthday wishes in the past. He’s doing much better now, but I kid you not, one year I got a card that said, “To the Man I Love”. Seriously, folks, I can’t make this stuff up. He actually discovered the error of his ways when he went to sign the card, but it was too late at night to go back to the store to purchase another. So, he made it work–sorta. No, not with duct tape or WD-40—which fixes almost anything—but with a Sharpie marker. You know where I’m going here, don’t you? Ever so neatly, he placed a bold, black ‘WO’ in-between ‘the’ and ‘Man’. It looked something like this.
We all got a big laugh about it then, (and frequently since then), so now he reads the cards more thoroughly–although he swears that the inside text of the man-card represented the exact sentiment that he couldn’t put into such eloquent words, except for that one pesky word! For the record, my birthday card from him this year was perfect and made me feel special, which just goes to show that he really is an amazing husband, just a terrible proofreader!
Speaking of special, if you’re ever feeling down and out, just wait until your birthday is posted on Facebook. Seriously, it’s a shower of birthday wishes all day long. Some sincere, some silly. Some from old friends, some from new friends. Some creative and some downright funny. Our Development Manager, Shelly Jones, sent me this sauce cartoon that I thought was slap-your-knee hilarious.
You see, we’ve been talking a lot about sauce at the office lately. What, everybody doesn’t do that? Yeah, a lot of weird things inspire us. Namely, this 1-minute video that our Office Coordinator, Meagan McCracken, saw on Reddit and shared with our team. Take a look at Sauce v. Juice:
Isn’t that great! “Juice, juice is temporary, it comes and it goes. But, sauce, sauce is forever.” That’s poetry there, my friend. Seriously! Think about it in relation to the Community Foundation. We hold the Grant County community’s endowment for literally hundreds of funds, causes, and charities—take your pick! When you donate to an endowed fund, you understand the importance of sustaining the charity you care about for the long-term because…The Sauce—the sauce is forever. Those endowed funds will be here long after we’re gone, and they’ll provide annual grants to the causes that you care about most. “That’s the sauce, man. It sticks around.”
Oftentimes, donors contribute to organizations that expend the donations immediately—that’s the juice, it’s temporary, it comes and goes from year-to-year. We call those pass-through funds because they are charitable, but they’re like a revolving door, they come in the door and go out the door just as quickly. Don’t get me wrong, we understand that non-profit organizations need to stay afloat, keep the lights on, and impact the community. Until they reach 100% sustainability, they’ll need some ‘juice’ to support their annual efforts. Just like your paycheck, some you spend for today and some you save for tomorrow. Some for juice and some for sauce.
This fact was beautifully shared at a seminar that Shelly and I recently attended. Speaker Bryan Clontz stated that non-profit organizations must diversify their fundraising dollars to even have a chance at sustainability. He went on to say that if a charity doesn’t have at least 20% of their operating budget coming from an endowment held in their name that they will either be forced to cut back services or cease to exist altogether. Marinate on that for a moment. If more non-profit Boards knew this, I’m sure they would be interested in learning more about endowed funds. Why? Because every check a donor writes for today’s use can still be considered an excellent investment, if they know that the future of the organization is secure. Every organization needs at least 20% sauce!
For example, if an organization’s annual budget is $100,000, then they would need 20% of that amount, or $20,000, to come directly from an endowment established just for them. With an average 4.5% of the fund’s balance paid annually, the endowment would require a $445,000 balance to cover their $20,000 yearly need. Of course, this amount doesn’t have to be acquired all at once, but eventually. Just like your 401k, you know what your goal is and you work toward that goal with each paycheck.
No offense to the Best Buy employee, but community foundations have known about The Sauce for a quite some time. Around here, we call it “Our Secret Sauce”—which isn’t really a secret or a sauce…is simply a solid community foundation strategy. Since our endowed contributions are never spent, they are endowed forever. Forever. This allows us to take those endowed gifts and permanently invest them to produce a spendable amount to be granted for the fund purpose every single year—forever. Any non-profit organization will tell you that a reliable annual income stream, that benefits the charity forever, is the best kind of gift. Unfortunately, to some charities, it’s like a unicorn—they’ve heard of such mythical gifts and donors, but they’ve never seen it with their own eyes.
So, no, giving to sustain a non-profit isn’t the same as giving to the Man or Wo-man you love. But, it is a great way to show your favorite charity that you love them so much, that you’d like to see their work sustained forever. That’s what I call awesomesauce.