Years ago I used to provide clients with a year-end gift during the holidays. Like most financial advisors I would order dozens packages of cookies or nuts and ship them out to clients as a holiday treat to let them know how much I appreciated them and their business.
These gifts were expensive, took a lot of time to box up and half my budget went to the Post Office to pay shipping costs. What’s more, I don’t think anyone really cared.
And I don’t blame them. How many packages of cookies, tins of popcorn or baskets of stale snacks do you need at the end year anyway?
I thought I was making an investment in my business and doing something nice for my clients, but the more I thought about it the more I realized my investment and efforts probably weren’t really making a difference to me, to my clients or to anyone.
As with any unproductive investment, I decided to switch gears and try something else.
Making a difference
About 5 years ago I dropped the cookie campaign and began partnering with Feed My Starving Children to help feed hungry children around the world. Instead of paying to send cookies to clients who didn’t need or want them I decided to use those resources to make a contribution to FMSC on their behalf instead.
In the past few years, my family and I have increased our commitment, making not only a financial contribution but also contributing our time to this important cause.
Of course, we are not alone. Other friends and family including members of my team, and an army of volunteers across the country have chipped in as well. A few hours out of a week isn’t much in the scheme of things, but when you work together with a common goal, the hours add up.
At a recent Mobile Pack™ event sponsored by our church, we did our part to help pack over 1.1 million meals to help feed hungry kids around the world.
Volunteers at Mobile Pack™ events around the country, like the one held recently at Incarnation Lutheran Church in Shoreview, helped produce over 284 million meals last year.
A small investment with big returns
The basic premise of investing is to take a small amount of money and turn it into something bigger over time. Usually with some type of long-range goal in mind, we choose to sacrifice, save and invest to make a difference in our future; to make a difference in our life and the lives of others.
For less than the price of a postage stamp, a meal can be provided to a hungry child – in fact, for the price of a standard U.S. postage stamp you can feed two kids and have a nickel and two pennies left over.
For less than what it was costing me to provide 4 cookies to 10 clients, FMSC can feed child for a year.
We manage our investments with an eye towards maximizing returns, keeping our expenses low and being prudent. We invest with faith in the long run, confident that our investments will be successful.
Providing financial support to a charitable organization isn’t any different.
If you choose to invest a portion of what you have with a charity or other organization, you should take the time to research how far your dollar goes, and how it is used.
Charity Navigator is a good place to start. There you can learn more about the charitable organizations you wish to support and make a well-informed choice when it comes to how your charitable dollars are used.
Consider the following stats regarding FMSC:
- $80 feeds a child for a year
- 91% of total annual donations is spent directly on meal production
- 99.8% of meals shipped have safely reached intended locations
Few organizations can claim that level of efficiency. Not bad for an organization powered by a million volunteers in hairnets.
Every year I note in my holiday letter to clients that I made a contribution on their behalf to Feed My Starving Children.
I just wanted to give you a mid-year update on where this “cookie money” was going and the difference it is making in the world, and to say…
Thank you so much for making this possible!