It's Hard to Give Money Away

Believe it or not, it’s hard to give money away.  It’s not that there’s a lack of great charities and projects.  It can often be a lack of creativity and knowledge, for both the donor and the charity.


Sometimes a charity is so focused on the daily needs of their clients that they don’t take the time to dream bigger.  Sometimes a donor wants to fund something new and different but doesn’t know where to start.


We believe we have a solution.  This week we are contacting area not-for-profits of all shapes, sizes, and purposes to ask them to answer a “wish list survey.”


In addition to the standard “what do you and your clients need today?” types of questions, we are also asking them to ponder some bigger questions, such as “Name three things your organization does well,” “Name three things you wish your organization did better,” and “If money were no object, what would you wish for your clients and organization?”


Wow – that’s a loaded question!!  But we follow that with “Okay, of those super-size dreams, what’s achievable in both the short- and long-term with the right resources?”


Those “right resources” might already be here.  It might be a donor realizing they share the same passion as the organization.  It might be the right volunteer looking for the right opportunity or project to lead.  It might be two organizations putting their resources together for a common goal.


And, the right resource might be bigger money that isn’t here in Grundy County – yet.  We believe the Community Foundation of Grundy County has a proven track record of understanding need and then recruiting outside monies and resources to solve the need.  The Grundy Transit System team is a great example – this project is expected to bring hundreds of thousands of dollars of federal reimbursement monies to Grundy County.  This wouldn’t be possible without stakeholders getting together to identify need and dream about solutions.


Often the solution isn’t about money – it’s about people getting excited about doing the work.  In addition to asking organizations to dream about funding, we are also asking them to ponder if, when, and how they can use volunteers.  A goal of the United Way of Grundy County is to be the “volunteer data hub” for Grundy County, maintaining a list of organizations who need volunteers as well as a database of volunteers, their skills, and their available hours.  The “wish list survey” going out this week is a partnership between our two organizations – us asking about dreams that can be funded; United Way asking about volunteers.


If we have an e-mail address for your not-for-profit organization, please look for this wish list survey in your inbox.  If we don’t have an e-mail address for you, please contact Karen or me so that we can get a survey to you.


We invite all not-for-profits to complete this, not just social service organizations.  This includes organizations in the arts, historic preservation, athletics, and especially churches.  One of the messages we heard in the Lake Institute workshops is that churches need to dream big, too!


You can contact me at 941-0852 or stop by our office at 102 Liberty Street in Morris.  You can contact Karen Nall at the United Way at 942-4430 or stop by her office at 1802 N. Division, door #9.


It’s our hope that organizations take the time to complete it and send it in.  We are going to compile the answers and publish a booklet for everyone to review, including donors.


We are so excited to get this project off the ground – it’s been a dream of ours for a while.  Helping everyone in Grundy County achieve their charitable goals and dreams is service that we are thrilled to provide!


After all, our motto is “bridging people who care with causes that matter”!