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.