The donor’s dilemma – I think I get it, now.

I had an a-ha moment at church today. I go to an excellent church, so actually this is pretty common; but today’s was especially relevant to GivingCity, I think.

Our church is looking for the first recipient of its Caring Forever Endowment Fund Award. The award amounts to $1500, and we – the members of this church – are supposed to nominate “a person or organization, not a member of the church, that must use the award for mission or education for a near-term project that needs additional funding.”

Supposedly, they have not received many nominations, and before service began this morning, a member of the endowment fund’s committee made a plea for nominations. So of course I’m going to nominate someone or an organization…but who?

I’ve been dealing with the donor’s dilemma all day. I’ve donated before, but not $1500… not all at one time. And it’s especially easy to donate this time because it’s not actually my money I’m trying to help give away. So why the dilemma?

$1500 is a lot of money… but is it? I want this $1500 to have a real and immediate impact on people’s lives, not get lost in overhead and administration. So I look to small nonprofits first – someone who can put this money in and make it work at the ground level. But then again, I know of a lot of large nonprofits who could not only use the $1500, but who also know how to milk more from that $1500than its face value. Plus, they’ve proven that they’re doing good work because they’re a large, well run organization.

The next stage of my thought process is about location, as in where the beneficiaries are located. I just watched Turk Pipkin’s second film, “One Peace at a Time,” and saw the impact that amount of money might have in a developing country. But I live in Austin, and there are people here whose lives deserve to be better, too.

I’ve thought about this literally all day, and I’m nowhere near a decision. I can’t even narrow it down. I realize I’m just nominating a group; the church’s committee will choose the recipient. But I still feel like choosing which organization to nominate for the $1500 is an important decision. And, you know, if the organization I nominate actually “wins” the donation, I want them to now that it’s because of me. Hey, I admit that I’m a sucker for sincere thank-yous.

So there’s my dilemma. Not much of a problem to have, but still, it’s one I’m anxious to decide on. I have until next Sunday. Ugh! Too much time to think about it.

Now I think I can understand why it might be more difficult than people think to give away money.


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