Year-end giving: the power of the small donation

To the Editor:

'Tis the season to give.

The Vermont Foodbank receives more than half of its contributions at the end of the year. And while we always welcome large contributions, because we're serving individuals and families who are hungry and hurting today, even the smallest year-end contribution goes a long way.

According to the DMA Nonprofit Federation, the vast majority of charitable gifts are not the million dollar gifts we hear about in the news. Donors may give in response to specific appeals, or may prefer to do something throughout the year, making a small gift on a regular schedule, such as a monthly giving program. Giving that way, usually by credit card or checking account deduction, also makes the whole process easier and more automatic.

Of course, one reason to spread out our gifts over the year is that most of us are not millionaires. That's why a regular giving program, such as being a monthly donor, can help both the donor and the charity budget more easily. But even when small donations are received on a more random schedule, today's efficient charities know how to maximize the gifts' effectiveness.

Here at the Vermont Foodbank we use ninety-two cents of every dollar donated to ensure that no one in Vermont goes hungry. Last year, the Vermont Foodbank provided 8.2 million pounds of food to as many as 86,000 Vermonters in need of food assistance. We could not have done with work without the support of 10% of Vermont households who are donors to the Vermont Foodbank.

Small gifts, of any amount, when multiplied by the millions upon millions of Americans who support our nation's charities, add up to a great deal that really does make a big difference. In fact, $316 billion of difference just last year.

So when you read about a millionaire's gift, just know that in your own way, by making a year-end contribution to your favorite charities, you're helping just as much, if not more.

Christine Foster

Vermont Foodbank

Barre, Vt.

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