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How Do I Measure Up?

Feb 28, 2018 at 10:00 AM

girl measuring herself at chalkboardI wonder if like me, you have ever compared how generous you are to how generous someone else is.

Every time I make a charitable gift or volunteer somewhere there is always someone else who has given more or volunteered with more enthusiasm and effectiveness.  When I compare, I never measure up.  In fact, I’ve been told by psychologists that we tend to compare ourselves to others in areas where we don’t “measure up” and rarely where we do.

This has gotten me thinking that in a way there is a sense of shame when it comes to generosity.  Think about it.  A nonprofit you care deeply about invites you to make a gift to their capital campaign. At first, you think the ask is way out of your reach but you politely say you’ll think about it.  As you think about how much capacity you have you compare yourself to the other donors you know and have heard about.  Finally, you decide how much you’ll pledge, and in most cases, it is less than the ask.  When you consider your gift and the good work the charity is doing, do you feel like you are doing enough or are you doing as little as possible while still being involved?  That little voice in your head can be menacing if you are not clear and confident about your Generosity Gameplan.

Being clear about your heart’s desire for acts of generosity helps you say “no” to the causes that don’t fit so you can say an enthusiastic “yes” to those that do match.  And if your involvement with this organization began by spending your relational equity and volunteering with what you are best at, the capital campaign gift will feel just right, and the voice in your head will hum a happy tune.

I wonder, do you ever feel a sense of shame about generosity?


Read my book, Connected for Good: A Gameplan for a Generous Life, to share in the stories of others like yourself, move past any shame you might have about your giving, and know you measure up – you are a generosity a champion!

One response to “How Do I Measure Up?”

  1. Dennis says:

    I found your insight on shame and generosity helpful. I think I have mastered this area and then the next letter comes in the mail and I have to deal with it all over again. I feel guilty when I don’t even open the letter sometimes. But I also know that I have significant ministries to which I am quite generous. Your thoughts help, remembering most of us have a similar struggle.

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