What is Your Choice?

Here’s a question guaranteed to stir controversy:  If you were a Rotary leader who had to make a choice between one of two options, one Rotarian giving $100,000 to the Foundation –or– 1,000 Rotarians each giving $100 to the Foundation, which would you choose? Sorry, “both” is not an answer, you have to choose.

My choice would be the 1,000 Rotarians giving $100 each.  My logic is that the vast majority of Rotarians in North America can afford to give $100 per year and, further, can do so every year.  Chances are that the single $100,000 donor does this once in his or her lifetime and never gives again. A Major Donor gift of $100,000 is an end; a Sustaining Member gift of $100 is a beginning.

The other, more subtle reason for preferring small donations is that once a Rotarian gives that first donation to our Foundation, he or she has made a transition from being a member of a Rotary club to being a Rotarian. The member has made an investment in our organization, both financially and emotionally.  Sustaining members get it. They are more likely to remain long term Rotarians and more likely to donate more in the future.  They are also the people who will donate more of their precious time toward the cause and are the people who will become leaders of the future.

2 thoughts on “What is Your Choice?

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  • Thank you for this informative newsletter and interesting column! I think everyone would agree that 1,000 people supporting an organization is better than one person. Those thousand people possibly have a larger reach and can make a bigger impact over time. However, in my experience, when a person makes a Major Gift to Rotary, that is certainly not an end to their relationship with Rotary. During Arch Klumph Society inductions here at Rotary’s World Headquarters, most donors thank ROTARY for what the organization has done to make their charitable dreams come true ~ which always is a humbling surprise to me because these events are intended to thank the DONORS, not the other way around! I often hear from the same people, year after year, as they work with their financial planners to find ways to achieve their charitable and financial goals through repeated Major Gifts. When we keep those thousand donors engaged throughout their lifetimes, many of them eventually become Major Donors, Major Givers and Bequest Society members because they come to believe that Rotary is the best organization to solve the world’s problems that are important to them.

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