A 20/20 Reflection

With the year finishing up in three days, I now have 20/20 vision on what happened in this monumental year of 2020. I know nothing of what will happen in 2021. Yet, we have some things we learned this year that we can all count on.

We can count on each other.

I promise you that. And, this year we saw it in so many ways, in so many languages, in so many places…it is innumerable to count. The biggest highlight was perhaps that we saw a vaccine for COVID-19 made in a year. We saw communities rallying around each other, I wrote about some examples here. We saw healthcare workers putting their lives on the line every day. I even was inspired to create merchandise specifically for them here to celebrate their philanthropy.

In a time of racial tension, political upheaval, rioting, death, and global unrest…all of this generosity was so unexpected.

This time last year, we had no knowledge a global pandemic was looming. On March 13th, the day everything shut down here, we had no certainty of what each coming day would look like. All the usual anticipated certainty we used to have of celebrating birthdays, making play dates, even going to school and into the office: stopped.

The world hunkered down to stop the spread – staying in our homes. How fortunate we are, those who have a warm house and enough food on the table. How fortunate we are to have a job to support ourselves. How fortunate we are…yet, so many in the world have so much less.

But, Americans saw that and gave above and beyond what they ever had in the history of the world. Charitable giving grew by 7.6% in the first 9 months compared to the same time frame as the year before, according to data from the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Foundation for Philanthropy. According to AFP’s Growth in Giving Database, the 2020 Second Quarter Report, donations of less than $250 jumped 19.2 percent in the first half of the year, while mid-level gifts of between $250 and $999 increased 8.1 percent and major gifts of at least $1,000 increased 6.4 percent.

Average people, like us, gave at higher rates than ever before.

I had a nonprofit reach out to me in fear and shock about what to do with fundraising. The fact is: it’s always an optimal time to raise money. People are generous. It’s like we have it written on our hearts and minds. Altruism will always be there. And, it just replenishes itself.

The more we give, the more we get, the more we get, the more we give…

So, 2020 has shown that we can count on each other. I’m not saying there’s not going to be setbacks or disappointments, but in the big picture we can hold onto the good of our fellow man.

As we reflect on the year, let’s go forward remembering what we learned: we can count on each other. And, when we can count on each other to do the right thing, to make choices that are in the best interests of others, we can accomplish so much more.

It’s the fear that takes us down. It’s fear that keeps us immobilized. Don’t let that fear get the best of you. Remind that fear that it doesn’t exist. Challenge it. Remind it. Push it down and tap into your power. The power that you are a human that can change the world. Today. And, tomorrow. And, every day.

You are a person who can create change. It’s not just for the wealthy. Philanthropy is for everyone. Everyone can be called a philanthropist.

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