If you judge by appearance, and see there is great need or lack…
do not allow yourself to be connected with the lack concept…
connect with prosperity… . Some will say we are hard hearted,
that we do not believe in helping others. That does not follow.
The law operates for all. What are you connected with in thought?
—Charles Fillmore on the principle of the Law of Mind Action
In our first article, “Creating Intentional Prosperity (Part I),” we started with the premise that “the times they are a-changing and people are changing with them.” In this article we will share statistics from research gleaned from Giving USA, one of the premier e-zines devoted to fundraising, plus fundraising research of Clif Christopher. These statistics indicate what people gave to in the past, how much they gave, why they gave, and why that consciousness no longer holds true today. Remember, as consciousness evolves, why people give evolves.Giving USA estimates that in 2009 giving reached $303 billion, 2.1 percent of gross domestic product. The average household giving was $1940. Additionally, 50% of all women are now in the work force and are in charge of the disposable household income.What impact does this have for Unity? Our centers usually have 7 women to 3 men. So if women are in charge of household giving and Unity is predominantly women, then women and the programs that are of interest to them are a place that we need to be focusing our energies on as a potential channel of our good.Twenty years ago, per Christopher, nearly 60% of all charitable giving went to religious organizations. In 2006, this percentage had dropped to 33% of $295 billion donated to all charities. In 2009, although giving dropped overall by 3.2% to charitable organizations, religious organizations did not have a statistically significant drop noted.How can we continue to speak in terms of negativity around giving, when people are still giving to religious organizations? So if your spiritual community felt an impact, what happened? Perhaps it is not because people aren’t giving, perhaps it is because there are changes occurring in giving that the leaders in your spiritual community have not picked up on yet.has shifted is the number and types of not-for-profits, and within this shift, nonprofit managers have become savvy fundraisers.Donors want to give to a purpose that will transform lives, not to a new furnace. They will give to a new furnace, but greater giving occurs when the people know how the furnace will change the lives of the people within the spiritual community. For example, this furnace warms our children’s education center where our children, who will become leaders, learn who they are as an expression of the One. Did you notice that furnace got lost and the reason why the furnace is important started popping through as a passion and enthusiasm for the children’s program that is changing their lives?Today, donors want to know that their gift will count, not towards a building, but towards changing lives. So we as ministers must learn why people give, what they give to, and how the current level of consciousness affects their giving. This calls for a shift in conscious awareness of us as ministers.Although statistics are important, they are not what we stand on, for we only stand on principle. Statistics are not cause, they are effects. However, the effects are important to who we are and how we work with our financial base within the context of our spiritual community.
Giving Is a Science
Believe it or not, giving is a science. Organizations like Lilly, in tandem with Indiana University, are doing great research on giving. Their research includes data on why people give, what motivates them to give, how age or gender shifts the dynamics of giving, and much more.Another great researcher on giving is Wal-Mart. Regardless of your feelings about Wal-Mart, they spend millions on research around giving. Yes, buying is giving money to something. Wal-Mart wants to know how and why people are willing to share their money. Giving is a phenomenon that can be researched.In 1984, Jerold Panas wrote Mega Giving (what he discovered remains valid around reasons people give to charities). People in 1984 gave to charitable organizations because they wanted to:
• Make the world a better place
• Make a difference
• Be a part of something that changes lives
• Leave a legacy for themselves or someone they loveToday, per Christopher, people give for three basic reasons. These do not preclude the above reasons, but transcend and include:
• Belief in the mission
• Regard for the leadership staff
• Fiscal responsibility of the institution
To know and understand information does not mean that you are not being spiritual or not being a good spiritual leader. If you know why people give, then you, as minister, can support them in their desire to give, and structure a strategic/spiritual plan that allows for giving that meets their individual needs. The people in front of you on Sunday mornings are indeed givers and they are your potential donors.Abundance is a spiritual concept. Giving feeds the soul. Whether our giving is tithing of money or for-giving of love, it is all about giving of and from our selves first. “Where our treasure is, so is our heart.” And isn’t our work about awakening people to all aspects of themselves?