A Season of Giving

Written by Susan Hatten

This time of year is historically noted as the season of giving, and the past several weeks have allowed me to more intimately understand how this concept is embraced in Des Moines.

I am fortunate to be a part of several local nonprofit boards and see acts of compassion, charitable giving and volunteerism on a daily basis. Without fail, philanthropy is embraced—and often expected—from my colleagues.

The rate of volunteerism was in decline nationwide in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Not so in Des Moines. In September, NerdWallet listed Des Moines as the nation’s 15th most generous city, a ranking based on volunteer rates per capita, number of hours volunteered per resident and the percentage of income donated to charitable organizations. Nearly 40 percent of our residents volunteer more than 40 hours each year.

The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign is a testament to these statistics. You may recall the organization’s plea after Thanksgiving for more contributions, as they had a slow start to the campaign. This announcement was all that was needed; by Dec. 21, the campaign was two-thirds to goal. Our community continues to step up as a need is made known.

I am in the midst of helping coordinate several large fundraising campaigns and was in a planning session with corporate sponsors recently. A comment was made in our meeting that reminded me of the difference between those who give because they care, and those who give because they feel it’s a part of their political upkeep, or perhaps as a means to elevating their own personal brand.

This led me to become even more interested in the various motivations that drive individuals to give their time, money and resources to charitable causes. According to the Huffington Post, 69 percent of individuals get involved in charity because they felt a personal or an emotional connection to the cause, and 50 percent feel compelled to take part because a friend or family member had made the request.

This is why I feel our community sets the standard for charitable giving and volunteering. We are connected. We listen. We care about our neighbors. We continually strive to seek to understand what others are facing in their lives and believe that we can play a small part in making a difference.

While there may be individuals who give for ulterior motives, I believe that the core of our engaged donors and volunteers in Des Moines are doing so because they care. Their season of giving knows no boundaries, nor is it constrained by the time of year.

susan hatten

  • Show Comments (1)

  • Michael Oliver

    Very nice article. You are a great asset to our community.

Comments are closed.

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