16 May Generosity Press Release
Grant County gives generously; thank you. Continue to do so; please.
We live in the 3rd most generous county in the state of Indiana. I recall the pride I felt when this announcement was made just two short years ago. Grant County—a county that gives abundantly, selflessly, and lovingly to help our neighbors in need. Without a doubt, we’re still that same county today.
At the Community Foundation of Grant County we witness this generosity every week. We are blessed to be able to work daily with the most generous people and make grants to the most worthy organizations—all right here in our hometown. Without a doubt, this abundant generosity must continue.
Grant County gives generously; thank you. Continue to do so; please. But, heed the following first.
As a donor, you have rights. It’s true. In fact, these rights, adopted in 1993, have been written into what’s called The Donor Bill of Rights developed by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, and the Giving Institute: Leading Consultants to Non-Profits. These Rights have been endorsed by numerous organizations, including the Community Foundation of Grant County and many other non-profits in our community and beyond. As you read them, I think you’ll see why they’ve earned such broad-based support from the non-profit community.
The Donor Bill of Rights
Philanthropy is based on voluntary action for the common good. It is a tradition of giving and sharing that is primary to the quality of life. To assure that philanthropy merits the respect and trust of the general public, and that donors and prospective donors can have full confidence in the not-for-profit organizations and causes they are asked to support, we declare that all donors have these rights.
- You have the right to be informed of the organization’s mission, of the way the organization intends to use donated resources, and of its capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purposes.
- You have the right to be informed of the identity of those serving on the organization’s governing board, and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities.
- You have the right to have access to the organization’s most recent financial statements.
- You have the right to be assured your gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.
- You have the right to receive appropriate acknowledgement and recognition.
- You have the right to be assured that information about your donation is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by law.
- You have the right to expect that all relationships with individuals representing the organization of interest to the donor will be professional in nature.
- You have the right to be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of the organization, or hired solicitors.
- You have the right to have your name deleted from mailing lists that an organization may intend to share.
- You have the right to feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful, and forthright answers.
Perhaps, as a donor of time, talent, or treasure, you weren’t aware of these rights. But, they are yours and as such should be considered whenever you make a donation to your favorite charity. If for any reason you don’t feel as if a non-profit meets these conditions to your satisfaction, you do have choices. We shouldn’t simply stop giving, stop caring, stop helping. Instead of opting out of generosity entirely, I urge you to redirect your giving in new ways that will bring hope, life, and promise to our community. There are many ways to do this, but here are two:
(1) You can choose to direct your generosity to another charity that has a mission that is similar or in which you are equally passionate. That’s not a bad idea. There are a variety of amazing non-profit charities in Grant County—caring people serving alongside others to make our community a better place to live, work, play, and pray. Seek them out, if necessary. They are easy to find, will readily answer any questions you might have, and are eager to share their mission and passion for service with you. But, please don’t halt your generosity; transfer your philanthropy to another organization if you wish, but do not cease giving. That only hurts our community and those who need the help most.
(2) You can choose to help that organization through volunteering your talent in service and/or leadership. If you love the organization’s mission, but feel their processes and policies don’t meet the standard that The Donors Bill of Rights has established, help them get there. You can donate your time to their day-to-day operations and learn through your volunteer service how you might be able support their mission in greater ways. Or you could even choose to serve in a deeper, more meaningful way—through Board service. If you truly believe in the mission of a non-profit, I highly encourage you to get involved in this type of active generosity.
A non-profit Board of Directors represents the community just like a for-profit Board of Directors represents shareholders. The Board at any charitable organization will create, modify, and approve policies that dictate how a non-profit functions. Everything from mission, CEO selection, monitoring and strengthening of services, providing financial oversight, and ensuring legal and ethical integrity are part of a governing Board’s job. An effective Board of Directors works closely with the CEO of the organization and understands the mission of the organization well so that they can determine the best ways to fulfil that mission.
Additionally, the Board of Directors works closely with the CEO and Staff as they implement board policy in their daily work so that operations are efficient and effective while impact is made. When issues arise, it is the job of the CEO to notify the Board of Directors so policy can be created or modified to get back on the path of progress.
All non-profit Board of Directors have three essential responsibilities:
- Duty of Care – Board members must exercise due care in all dealings with the organization and its interests.
- Duty of Loyalty – Personal and professional conflicts of interest, including the appearances of conflicts of interest, must be avoided.
- Duty of Obedience – Obedience to the organization’s central purpose must guide all decisions.
In fact, the state of Indiana even has law which speaks to these duties. The law gives board members the ultimate responsibility for all the activities of the organization (IC 23-17-12-1(b). Furthermore, it mandates board members to act in good faith and with care that would be in the best interest of the organization (IC 23-17-13-1(a).
Board service is serious, dedicated philanthropy. Whether you have thought about it in this way or not, a charitable donation is an investment in the mission of the non-profit that you’re supporting. Investments aren’t haphazard; they are intentional. Therefore, quality charitable investments should further the non-profit’s mission and ultimately improve the quality of life for the constituents they serve. If you truly believe in the mission of an organization and want to help their clientele, invest in them with your time, talent, and treasure.
Donating to local non-profits armed with this type of charitable literacy provides you with an added sense of security. You’ll know for sure that the organizations you ultimately choose to support are good investments. This is important because your continued support of the 3rd most generous county in the state will truly be what makes Grant County a great county.
Grant County gives generously; thank you. Continue to do so; please.