Choose Life

By Brad Layland, CEO and Senior Consultant

 “…I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19 (ESV)

Life is full of choices at every step of the way. The glass is either half full or half empty. You may be frustrated that a waiter at a restaurant gets your order wrong, or you may be struggling to have enough money to feed your children. We all lose perspective at times, but especially as this economy has become more volatile, we need to choose life and continue to bring the great work of your organizations to your giving partners.

Because I am the CEO of The FOCUS Group, I frequently get asked what I am observing in terms of giving. We serve about a hundred clients or so at The FOCUS Group, and people wonder: when the economy is volatile, do donors stop giving? That expectation is understandable, but it’s simply not true.

This was an amazing week for three of our clients because they did two things:

  1. They shared the great work that God has called them to do with some of their strategic partners. 
  2. These partners directed some of their resources to these amazing organizations.

Specifically, this is what I saw happening: One partner put their school in their estate for over $40M; another donor gave a gift over $10M; and a third donor gave a multimillion-dollar lead gift to a school that exceeded the school’s entire first campaign. In each of these cases, these are the largest gifts ever given to the organizations.

At every step of our journey, we are given the chance to choose life and hope rather than death and despair. Yet for some reason when we see banks failing and the stock market going crazy, our default is to choose death and lose hope. On behalf of the people you serve, PLEASE do not do this.

If my exhortation is not enough, then trust the data. According to Giving USA, charitable giving has gone up every year in the USA except in 2007 and 2008. And when you dig deeper into the data, giving to faith-based organizations has never gone down. My observation is that God has given some of his followers the gift of giving. These people crave the opportunity to give like hungry people crave food.

This week, choose life! Take heart that God has called you to invite your giving partners to join in the transformational work your organization is doing.

To hear more about the particulars about the three huge gifts that were given please listen to the most recent episode of the Taking Donors Seriously Podcast on iTunes.

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