I’ve learned that giving is contagious. In fact, a study (by James Fowler of the University of California, San Diego and Nicholas Christakis of Harvard) published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science confirms this. The way we see it play out is that often when we are able to give to a project early, it inspires others around us to give as well. I learned that firsthand with a project collaboration with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
An energetic and dedicated man named George Sparks heads the organization and asked us for a major contribution to their capital campaign for a new building. The city of Denver had issued bonds to cover half the cost, and he knew of several possible sources for additional funds, including the Morgridge Family Foundation.
What he needed, however, was someone to take the lead: just like the first penguin to jump in the water, we were the first donors to give. Our hope was that taking the initial plunge would inspire others to follow. The price tag for the whole project was far more than our budget would allow. But we knew that if we could get others to give, our gift and their contributions—along with the public funds from the bonds—would get the job done.
So, we agreed to grant the museum $8 million (about 11% of the total) and that got the ball rolling. Today the new museum welcomes 1.2 million visitors a year, more than the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies teams attendance combined. With the new facility, the number of little visitors has skyrocketed from 17,000/ month to 50,000!
You can probably think of giving goals you’d like to reach that are far beyond what you can do alone. We couldn’t have built a museum, but we could challenge and inspire others by donating a gift of our own with the hope that they would join us in building for the future. That’s exactly what happened. By leveraging your resources and working as a team you will be amazed at what you can help create.
Like what you hear? Pick up a copy of Every Gift Matters: How Your Passion Can Change the World, now available at Amazon.