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Why donations matter

How many of you stop to consider the benefits of charitable giving? Working in a non-profit sector definitely brings it to mind more readily for those of us who work in the office but I am curious about people who liked our page?

I, personally, only really considered donations when I was face-to-face with them, before I started working in the non-profit world. We’ve all been in line at a grocery store or even a retail store and have been asked to ‘round-up’ or donate an item to a charity. Some companies have toys-for-tots bins or a canned food drive. Many people in San Diego have sustaining membership donations to their favorite non-profits, like the San Diego Zoo. I take my gently used books to libraries. Have you ever walked into a restaurant (or gone to a trivia night) that is hosting a non-profit organization, or a school, that will get a portion of the proceeds? As we approach the holidays these things come to the forefront of our daily lives.

We know that giving feels good. The tax benefits don’t hurt but it’s usually not about that. When I take a pile of books to a library or donate to toys-for-tots, I’m not considering a tax break. I’m thinking about the person on the other end and I’m hoping my donation brings joy to them. As we approach #GivingTuesday I wanted to do some research on what benefits people who donate receive just by the simple act of donating money, time, or items. I found a really great article that details the effects of giving, like: activating the reward center of your brain, protecting your community, reduced stress rates, etc.

After I did the research, I turned my reflection on the topic inward, once again, and looked at my “recurring donations” or places I donate to annually or monthly. I spent a lot of time taking care of children and watching Sesame Street as the coffee kicked in, years and years ago and I started donating to KPBS, small amounts monthly – I was watching little people for my bread and butter after all. I’ve never stopped donating. When I look at the budget and consider things I don’t need to spend funds on donations never make the cut for cancellation. In fact, every time I see my donations on the budget, I smile. I don’t spend time with Bert and Ernie very often anymore, but I know every little bit helps and I like knowing that I am making a difference.

We know you are here because arts education is important to you, kids are important to you, professional teaching artists are important to you, free community programming for families is important to you – and all of those things are important to us too.

Arts for Learning San Diego puts professional artists in front of children for quality arts education. Our CEO Tara Graviss says, ‘If you could have a NASA grade scientist teaching your kids science, you would want that. Why wouldn’t you want a professional artist to teach your children art’? We aren’t trying to create more professional artists, although we do support that, we are trying to make well rounded, healthy people. The arts do that, research and studies support this fact.

Students with an arts education are 5 times more likely to graduate from high school. They are also twice as likely to graduate college.

That is important.

The arts don’t just teach art; they teach creative thinking, problem solving skills, they instill confidence and self-awareness, they show people that mistakes are okay, and encourage independent thinking.

Last year Arts for Learning San Diego served 65,961 students in San Diego County with 179 Professional Teaching Artists. We are so proud of this fact but only 39% of students in California’s public schools have access to music, dance, theatre, or visual arts classes.

All of this is to say, we highly encourage you to consider us for your arts education donations on #GivingTuesday because arts education is important and we want to do more of it. We want to positively impact that 39% here in San Diego. When you are donating on the website this holiday season you’ll see a line: Make your gift recurring – monthly, quarterly, annually. We hope to make you smile monthly for years to come when you reflect on your yearly giving and budget.

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