For most of my life, I have thought of “donors” in a very limited way. My assumptions have been that “they” are:

Wealthy. I say this without even defining wealth.

Give to nonprofits in big ways. I haven’t thought that my $25 membership fee to the local public radio station qualifies me as a “donor” but rather as one making a donation.

Courted. Someone on behalf of a nonprofit reaches out to them (the donor) in a way that looks like courtship — if you like us we like you and we’ll do whatever we can to make this worth your while. 

Not me. That’s right. I have never once thought of myself as a donor. Yet…I give or donate blood, money, time, sweat and countless hours of advice without ever expecting anything back.


My limited ideas about donors give me as much clarity as this picture does.

I’m almost embarrassed by my assumptions and how they have created a mental dividing line between myself and others when all along I am just as much of a donor as anyone else.

Next time someone throws the terms “donors” around, I will ask them how they define the term and whether or not they would put themselves in the same category and why or why not.