MSAA: Publications - The Motivator: Summer/Fall 2010 - Thoughts about Giving
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Home > MSAA Publications > The Motivator > The Motivator: Summer/Fall 2010 > Thoughts about Giving
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Thoughts about Giving

The Meaning of Our Message

Another envelope!

As much as any development professional hates to admit it, we know "another envelope!" or "more mail!" are common reactions when donors receive the newest fundraising letter from MSAA or any charity.

One purpose of this column is to let donors know more about the fundraising process and to let donors in on the "trade secrets." This is in the hope that by understanding how and why MSAA and other charities operate, such knowledge will foster greater acceptance of practices that may have been confusing in the past.

If MSAA could talk to every donor and find out exactly how he or she wanted to help or when he or she should be contacted, that would be great. In an imperfect world, that is not possible, so we have to do what we think is best for all concerned.

Historically, and to this day, MSAA receives the overwhelming majority of its support from individuals who generously make gifts by mail or via that other culprit, the telephone. These gifts have sustained MSAA and kept it operating without interruption for more than 40 years.

Why then do we send all of that mail? We write, we call, we send e-messages...we ask because we've learned that if you don't acquaint people with what you want, if you don't tell them how they can help, they won't know what to do for you or when to do it.

More commonly put: "If you don't ask, you don't get."

So we ask. There's nothing magical or mystical about it. Our donors are individuals whose gifts express their concern for the hundreds of thousands of people who face the unpredictable challenges of MS on a daily basis. MSAA does, however, make a strong effort to not only ask, but to inform as well. We do not send the same formulaic letter or give the same telephone message each time. With each phone call or piece of mail you receive, we make a point of emphasizing our mission and how your kindness helps MSAA fulfill its mission. We tell you the stories of people we've served. We let you know how initiatives, such as our MSi online educational videos viewed by almost 30,000 people last year, help to enrich a constituent's quality of life.

While our messages are appeals, they are also records of important results we accomplished as partners. They are sent to inform you, make you aware of all the good that your gifts are doing, and to make you proud to support an organization that accomplishes such good.

So the next time you see "another envelope," please open it and read it. It's bound to contain gratitude for all you do to help someone who has MS. The choice to make a gift at that moment is yours. The pride you'll receive from learning what your gifts have achieved is boundless.


Folks are diving in with unbridled enthusiasm to participate in MSAA's fun and easy fundraising program, "Swim for MS." Coast-to-coast, swimmers - individuals, groups of friends, or teams - are going to their local pools, suiting up, and doing laps in support of MSAA's programs and services. The Swim for MS slogan is "Any pool, any time!"

Swimmers ask friends, relatives, coworkers and others to make a gift to MSAA in honor of their effort to support people with MS, or in honor of a special person with MS. Some swimmers set goals and tell the stories that outline the reasons for a swim. These goals and stories may be viewed by visiting

We often email donors to let them know about a Swim for MS taking place in their community. It is gratifying when a neighbor who doesn't know the swimmer makes a donation on the swimmer's behalf, just to support the common cause of helping individuals with MS.

If you're interested in Swim for MS, please contact Malcolm Friend at MSAA by calling (800) 532-7667, extension 117. He may also be contacted via email at Please visit to learn more.


Several donors find themselves in an unusual situation as the new calendar year approaches. They have reached the age of 70 ½ and must take or transfer some funds from their tax-deferred IRA retirement accounts. The quandary comes when the person doesn't necessarily need or want to use the money.

One solution is to donate it to a charity. Until December 31, 2010, people can make an outright gift to MSAA using their IRA funds without tax implications.

While the donor cannot claim a charitable deduction for IRA gifts, he or she will not pay income tax on the donated amount as long as he or she transfers the funds directly to a public charity, such as MSAA. The gift generates neither a taxable income nor a tax deduction, so even people who do not itemize their tax returns can receive the benefit.

If you have questions about this type of donation, your financial advisor can give you more information. You may also discuss charitable IRA rollovers to MSAA with Neal Zoren, director of development at MSAA, by calling (800) 532-7667, extension 128 or emailing


Last Updated on Thursday, 31 January 2013 14:00