For many of us the season of giving is yearlong! Thanksgiving reminds us that thanks continue throughout the year. We give to charities and religious organizations throughout the year. The giving spirit of thanks isn’t simply of dollars, but also of material items, our time and talents. Americans donate time, talent and treasure at higher rates than many other countries.

According to the 2016 report in the Guardian News & Media Ltd. the top six charitable countries are Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Canada, Switzerland and the U.S., in that order.

  • 60+% of the populations of these countries provided financial support to charities in the past month.
  • 60+% of the populations of these countries helped a stranger in the past month.
  • Over 35% of the populations of these countries volunteered for a charity in the past month.

The value of those efforts represents millions of dollars in value – often providing and / or supporting services that would normally fall to government. That support is critical to the success of any nation.

Now here is the punch line.

Consider changing your gifts and ways of thanking people with material items this holiday season to giving in another way. Our lives are filled with “stuff” – often it is more than we can use or appreciate. We become collectors of “stuff” that in the long run may not have much meaning in our lives or for society. I know this to be fact as my wife and I just moved to a new home. The amount of “stuff “that we have collected and don’t need and don’t use is staggering. All that “stuff “ becomes like an anchor around your neck. It requires considerable effort to maintain and to store. It drags you down when you really want freedom of movement.

My suggestion is to tie your seasonal giving of “stuff” at Thanksgiving and Christmas into a charitable concept. Why not consider a “non-stuff” gift to your friends and family this year? Support a charity that does so much in benefitting the citizens or our local communities and our State – consider a gift of a Keep Iowa Beautiful sponsorship. Provide a sponsorship gift in honor of birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, births, special occasions (job advancement, new home, etc.) and for those friends and relatives that have lost a loved one.

When you provide that non-stuff gift of a sponsorship along with the name of the donor, we will send them a “Non-Stuff” gift certificate identifying you as the donor and “giver”. The certificate will identify what the sponsor dollars do to make our state cleaner and more attractive and how that improves the cultural and economic lives of our citizens. What a way to build pride. We will also include an honor list of both recipients and donors of the non-gifts on our web page.

Join in the spirit of giving by providing a “non-stuff” gift – A KEEP IOWA BEAUTIFUL SPONSORSHIP! What a great gift to Iowa!

For more information on sponsorships, check out our Become a Sponsor page.

Gerald F. Schnepf, Executive Director