Rage donating — what does it mean for our fundraising?

Donations to progressive charities took off after President Trump was elected. And since then, this kind of ‘backlash’ giving has come to be known as rage donating.

It’s been called a lazy, middle-class citizen’s form of protest as well as a new form of donor motivation.

But is it really new? And is it really a lazy protest?

For the people who give to causes, this kind of giving isn’t new at all. You see an abused-animal story on the news that outrages you, and you give to the ASPCA. You see a homeless panhandler on the street, then give to The Salvation Army. You hear about the rise of a hate group, then give to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

People have been reacting to events by donating probably as long as there have been nonprofits.

What’s more, for those who give to causes, there’s nothing lazy about it.

This is a legitimate way to make your feelings known and make a difference. Sure, you could bend your neighbor’s ear about the need to save Social Security. Or pick up a sign and march in front of the Capitol to protest entitlement cuts.

Those are good things to do, but in and of themselves, the impact will be fleeting, even though it might be momentarily satisfying. But by donating to a nonprofit, you can bring the full weight of that organization to bear on the problem, and that’s more likely to actually cause something to change.

Is so-called rage donating the new anger-driven way of giving that it’s being hyped up to be? Doesn’t seem like it.

Instead, it’s more like the natural result when a nonprofit’s messaging is relevant and in step with the donor’s values. And that’s just good fundraising.



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