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Rage Donating Feels Good, Women and Girls Need More

// September 23, 2019

Nonprofits want to be proactive, we need philanthropists to join us

Camisha Lashbrook headshotReactionary philanthropy, or episodic giving, is a powerful tool to respond to disasters and tragedies. From collection plates during WWI to The American Red Cross’ notable $32 million text-to-give campaign in response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake, episodic giving historically has been a force for good during trying times. In recent years, episodic giving expanded from disaster-response to include often-emotionally-charged giving in response to headline news – dubbed “rage donating.” America saw a boost in philanthropy for women and girls, immigrants, and civil rights as a result.

Rage donating makes sense. Injustices we see in the world move us and donating to a worthy cause is a simple way to do something about it. After reading a particularly infuriating article about our criminal justice system several years ago, I elected to automatically round up all of my Lyft charges in support of the ACLU Foundation. It made me feel good personally and it couldn’t have been easier.

Unlike disasters, however, these social issues are hardly unforeseen. We don’t have to – and shouldn’t – wait for a breaking story or viral campaign to make a difference. Consistent, sustained giving not only addresses the most critical needs of today, it’s an investment in systemic change for our future.

The power of philanthropy by and for women – from rounding up $.47 on a rideshare transaction to a $1 million donation – is one of The Women’s Foundation of Colorado’s core beliefs. The outpouring of donations over the last several years to end sexual harassment and violence, advance reproductive justice, and empower more women to enter the political arena is inspiring. What will our world look like if those donors continue to invest, long after their anger simmers?

For women and their families, a world of proactive philanthropy to help organizations like WFCO and our grantee partners advance economic security means that money is never a barrier to escaping a violent relationship, accessing a full range of reproductive health services, or running for office. It equates to more corporate and public policies that support women’s leadership and promote safe and equitable workplaces. It can even lessen the devastation of natural disasters for women, especially women of color, and their families.

Economic security isn’t breaking news and it might not appear urgent. We acknowledge that we’re playing the long game, but many of the unexpected outcomes of economic security are essential to addressing those pressing headlines.

At the end of the year, Lyft emailed to congratulate me on donating a whopping $23.06 to the ACLU Foundation. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s the thousands of donations like mine that allowed them to hire an additional 200 employees, mostly lawyers, exponentially increasing their impact into the future. Our collective anger made a difference.

Now, let’s commit to moving beyond reactionary giving to investing in proactive philanthropy that nonprofits need and women and girls deserve. Let’s continue to be movement makers.

To learn more about becoming a sustaining donor of The Women’s Foundation of Colorado – or if learning that nearly 9 out of 10 single mothers of color with a young child have income that’s inadequate to cover basic needs enrages you – visit www.wfco.org/giving.

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