How can you Inspire Generosity?

When I was back on the east coast for the holidays, I went to a radical bookstore with my parents in Brattleboro, Vermont.


This bookstore was special. And before long, I was browsing around, and I found this book, Inspiring Generosity, and started to read it. It’s by Barbara Bonner, a fundraising consultant and nonprofit veteran. Then my Dad bought it for me for Christmas. (Thank you Dad!)

Inspiring generosity

Here are some choice quotes from the book:

“Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world. So long as you can sweeten another’s pain, life is not in vain.” -Helen Keller

“If you can’t feed a hundred people then just feed one.” -Mother Teresa

“My piece of bread only belongs to me when I know that everyone else has a share and that no one starves while I eat.” -Leo Tolstoy

“Winter comes to ever one of us sooner or later. And every spring, just like clockwork, the garden is reborn. By the time we die the real question is, “What have we done to leave our garden better prepared for spring-someone else’s spring?” -George Vaillant

“By practicing true generosity you can come to see that there is no separation between the one who gives and the one who receives. In giving, one receives, and in receiving, one also gives.” -Frank Jude Boccio

“There is no better exercise for your heart than reaching down and helping to lift someone up.” -Bernard Meltzer

“Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and your labor for others. . . and our very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.” -Walt Whitman

“Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.” -Albert Camus

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” -William James

“Generosity is the most natural outward expression of an inner attitude of compassion and loving-kindness. When one desires to alleviate the suffering of others and to promote their well-being, then generosity-in action, word, and thought-is this desire put into practice. It is important to recognize the ‘generosity’ here refers not just to giving in a material sense, but to generosity of the heart.”-The Dalai Lama

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have ligthted the flame within us. ” -Albert Schweitzer

If you get stuck on your thank you notes and don’t know what to write, this book can help you fill out some space to praise your donor’s generosity.

If you get stuck on the empty space in your enewsletters or donor quarterly newsletters, this book can help you praise your donors there as well.

If you want to add a quote to your next appeal letter, you will like this book. It’s very convincing. If it had an ask at the end of it for a charity, I would bet that a lot of people would run out and give.

If you’re always looking for ways to convince people to be more generous to your cause, you might like this book.

If you’ve ever wanted to be more donorcentric, in short, this book can help you.

There are also longer stories interspersed in this book that are inspiring as well. And there are poems too.

Two thumbs up! This should be in any fundraiser’s library, simply for inspiration.

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