Finally, Traveling Man left the dog sitting obediently by the door while he went into Taco Bell. He came out with a bag, sat next to the dog, opened up the wrapped food and broke each item in half. He ate half. The dog ate half. A Taco Bell employee came out of the restaurant, and I thought for sure he was going to chase the pair. But no, he was just on a smoke break, and he handed the man a few extra napkins and (maybe) some cash.
The man drank something from a cup, then went inside and came out with a cup that he put down on the sidewalk and held upright while the dog slurped. When they were done, he gathered up all of their trash and put it into the curbside bin. Then man and dog sauntered away in the hot Texas sun.
What a blessing to have witnessed that scene! Acts of kindness flowing from all directions — human to human, human to canine, human to nature, etc. This is a much more direct example of philanthropy than is at work in most of the fundraising sector, but it does underscore some very important lessons for fundraisers: 1) If you want someone to give, you have to engage. Is there anything in your messaging that is the equivalent of this attention-getting pup? 2) Show gratitude. Always. 3) Stewardship is key. We impromptu donors saw exactly where our money went that day — and that it wasn’t squandered. Our intentions certainly are not to judge the people we choose to help, but it’s human nature to want to know our donations are being used judiciously.
Finally, whether you’re giving a dollar to a hungry brother or sister, $10 to a collection basket, $1,000 to an organization, or a french fry to a grackle, giving blesses the giver as much as the benefactor. Never forget that, because by facilitating the blessing of giving, you become a blessing yourself.