The Y Community

Going Beyond the Transactional this Giving Season

Suzanne McCormick
Going Beyond the Transactional this Giving Season


Many donors see end-of-year giving as an opportunity to channel their holiday spirit, connect with their community and support organizations that align with their own values and priorities.

But the season of giving also can feel overwhelming, thanks in part to the boundless opportunities we have to connect and communicate. Our inbox, mailbox and social media feeds are full of end-of-year appeals that pile on top of holiday shopping ads. As a result, what should be an inspirational time can seem coldly transactional.

Two Y volunteers bagging vegetables and laughingUnderstandably, this barrage can leave donors feeling disconnected and less motivated to make an end-of-year gift. When that happens, we all lose. Nonprofits don’t receive funds needed to advance their mission, and donors miss out on the benefits they gain by giving.  

While yes, the tax benefits are nice, what I’m really talking about is the feeling of connection and sense of purpose we get when we support something bigger than ourselves. It’s what the season of giving is built on — creating connections by supporting our neighbors and community.

The season of giving is built on creating connections by supporting our neighbors and community.

Suzanne McCormick

part 2

Reframing the Giving Season

So, if you find yourself unsubscribing from email lists or dropping appeal letters into your recycling bin this month, that’s understandable. But I urge you to pause and reconsider, or even reframe how you think about the season of giving. If you’re feeling disconnected or if the season seems too transactional, consider lending your time and talent instead.

Many community-service organizations are busy this time of year organizing events that connect community members to one another and provide resources to ensure everyone has the opportunity to enjoy and celebrate the holiday season. Extra hands are always welcome — especially this year when many nonprofits are short staffed.

Volunteering to support organizations that share your priorities and values will quickly reconnect you to the spirit of the season. Volunteering also is proven to reduce stress and improve mental health — a welcome benefit after another long year.

To be clear, if you’re able, nonprofits need your monetary gifts to make their work possible. But at the YMCA and across the nonprofit sector, we also see this as a time to recharge, connect with others and reflect on what we value and find meaningful in our communities. Supporting community-serving organizations — however you can — is a wonderful way to do all three.

Few pursuits are as rewarding as giving back, so this holiday season I invite you to consider how, through gifts of treasure, time or talent, you can create a positive impact impact for those around you — and also further your own well-being. Who knows, by connecting with your community in new ways, you may uncover a passion or purpose that is worth supporting well into the new year.

If you need help getting started, locate your local YMCA and ask how you can get involved.

About the Author

Suzanne McCormick is President and CEO of YMCA of the USA. She is the 15th person and first woman to lead YMCA of the USA (Y-USA).


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