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Stop Donating Now! Make a Gift!

            I got a call from my friend.  He was all excited.  He was in a rush, and emphatic.  “Bill,” he told me, “we need to stop people from donating!”  Whoa!  Wait a minute!  Hold the phone.  Isn’t that what we are encouraging people to do—donate?  “No,” he said, “we want people to give.”

            And I thought about it.  He’s right.

            Donate means to present as a gift to a fund or cause—or so my dictionaries tell me.  Now what’s wrong with that?  It occurs to me the problem with the donate definition is that the object of the definition is the fund or cause.  In other words, the focus is on the organization getting the gift. 

            The word donate does little to address my role, my participation, my heart in the gift.  It is focused upon an organization’s need and my response.  It’s a transaction.  For a transaction, I can go down to the hardware store and make a purchase.

            But the word gift is far different.  It’s definition looks like this:

            Something that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation.

            The act, right, or power of giving


It’s root word “give” is defined as to freely transfer the possession of something. 


            The power of a gift is in my own heart.  It means I let go of something I own or possess—of something I value because I see and recognize that there is something of higher value and good.  It starts in my own motivation.  It’s what God is trying to unleash in me—freedom from my stuff so that I can be free to live.


            Indeed, let’s encourage people to stop donating and start giving.

About Bill High

Bill is CEO of the Signatry: A Global Christian Foundation. He works with families, individual givers, and financial advisers to share the foundation’s message regarding biblical generosity and charitable giving. He is the co-author with David Green of Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously: » Learn More

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