If your generosity feels unfocused and you wonder about the difference you are making, you might be in a Generosity Gap.
Here’s a short story about a generous couple who slipped into a gap, but found their way out with a Generosity Gameplan®.
JIM AND LAUREN’S CHALLENGE
Jim and Lauren have led blessed lives—good health, a strong marriage, a successful family business, and ample net worth—and they want the same prosperity for others. Their three daughters have moved out of the house, and with each positive step toward adult lives, Jim and Lauren feel relief that years of devoted parenting have paid off.
With the kids grown up, a secure financial future, and a wide circle of relationships built on being caring family members, friends, neighbors, Jim and Lauren have set their hearts on taking their generosity to the next level. As experienced volunteers and donors to organizations they’ve cared about over the years, they feel like they can—and should—do more, but there’s never enough time with all of their existing commitments.
Jim and Lauren feel different when they give from charitable intent versus giving from their hearts’ abundance, but they can’t imagine how their generosity can stretch far enough to make the impact they desire. They figure at least half of their volunteering and check-writing is effective, but they couldn’t tell you which half.
THE GENEROSITY GAPS
In my decades of experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic world, I’ve seen three Generosity Gaps that open up when people don’t know how to give strategically.
Action Gap: It’s not the right time.
- These folks are waiting for some future event when they imagine that giving will be easier or have more impact.
- They promise themselves they’ll do more when the kids finish college, or when they sell their business, or when they reach retirement.
Accumulation Gap: I don’t have enough.
- These folks hold back from an honest desire to make sure that their family is provided for first.
- Their “extra” seems inadequate in the face of huge needs and insignificant compared to what others give. When they do write a check, they feel poorer.
Gratification Gap: I might be making a difference, but I’m not seeing lasting change.
- These folks wonder whether their generosity really matters.
- They feel donor fatigue and volunteer burnout and don’t know how long they can keep going.