Giving For (More Than) Entertainment

In 2011, Americans spent almost $500 billion on entertainment – sports, movies, games, music, books, internet access, etc.  By 2016, that amount is projected to be almost $600 billion.

Meanwhile, our friends at Giving USA, tell us that charitable giving totaled just under $300 billion in 2011.

What if we saw it as part of our professional responsibility to reverse those numbers?  So, $500 billion in charitable gifts and $300 in entertainment.  What would our society look like?

How many more students would be educated?  How many more people would have food, shelter, and safety from abuse?  How much stronger would our communities be?  How many more people would experience the high of giving?

Society encourages us to believe that good times and joy are experienced only through consumption.  That we have to buy fun.  But this is fleeting, transactional, selfish, and wrong.

It’s easy for development leaders to focus on annual fund goals, campaign priorities, or planned giving objectives.  But I’m convinced that our real work should involve teaching that cheerful giving brings a sense of peace and deep satisfaction that can’t be purchased or consumed.  It can only be given away.


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