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Home > MSAA Publications > The Motivator > The Motivator: Summer/Fall 2011 > Thoughts about Giving
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Thoughts about Giving

The Power of Sustaining Gifts

Twelve times $20 equals $240. The math is basic. "Elementary," as Sherlock Holmes' friend Watson might say.

This simple equation turns into something very important when applied to charitable giving. It's the example that demonstrated to Amy, who has MS, how she could afford to make the significant annual gift she desired MSAA to have.

Amy wanted to donate $250, but the sum was too large for her budget. So MSAA told Amy about monthly giving, gifts we refer to as "sustainers," and showed her a way she could donate all she wished.

The method involved breaking Amy's total gift into affordable amounts that MSAA would receive monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or any way she preferred. To make an annual gift of $250, Amy could arrange for monthly donations of $20. That would add up to $240, and if the extra $10 mattered to her, she could tag it on at any time during the year.

Once Amy set up this mode of giving, donations in the increments she chose would automatically be renewed every year. Amy contributed as she intended and stayed comfortably within her budget.

All of a sudden Amy was a "sustainer," a monthly donor whose annual gift qualified her as a major donor and placed her at the Steward level in MSAA's President's Circle, a group comprising the charity's most dedicated donors. The beauty of the sustainer is people can be as generous as they want and watch monthly gifts accumulate into a significant annual gift.

Here's how the "sustainer" works. The donor chooses the amount of his or her annual gift. That amount is divided into 12 equal parts that are either charged to a credit card or sent as an automatic payment from the donor's bank account as an electronic fund transfer (EFT).

The easiest way to establish a monthly gift is via MSAA's website, www.mymsaa.org. Click the "Donate" button. This takes you to a page that features three options: general, memorial ("In Memory Of"), or tribute ("In Honor Of") gifts. Click on any of these, and a page appears on which you can enter the amount of your gift. Some amounts will be suggested, but you can choose the option that lets you enter any amount you wish. The final step is to check the box that asks if you want your gift to be applied monthly. That box is conveniently located below the optional amounts. Supply your credit card information, and you're all done.

Many people choose to be "sustainers" because they like the way a $5 monthly gift turns into a $60 annual gift. People also like the automatic renewal. Some of MSAA's "sustainers" have been making gifts monthly since 2003, the year we established the program. Donors can drop out of the program any time they like just by calling or emailing us. Happily, most of the calls we receive are from people who want to refresh credit card information regarding expiration dates.

The EFT option can be arranged easily by talking to me or my colleague, Jaime Smith. It involves sending a voided check from the account from which you choose to draw. That is sent to our bank, and the amount you have written on the check will be automatically deducted from your designated account on the same date each month.

Although I refer to monthly gifts, an annual gift can be divided by any increment you choose. For example, you may divide the annual amount by four for a quarterly gift or by six for a bi-monthly gift. The part of sustaining gifts that donors and MSAA enjoy most is seeing the gifts accumulate and realizing the good that their monthly (or other time period) gifts accomplish.

Amy got her wish. She said she wanted to help others with MS and was grateful to find a way she could afford to do all that she intended.

If monthly giving appeals to you for the larger gift that will accrue or for the convenience of making an automatic sustaining contribution, please visit MSAA's website at www.mymsaa.org or call me, Neal Zoren, at (800) 532-7667, extension 128 or Jaime Smith at extension 146. We will be pleased to help you.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 January 2013 12:45