This blog post was originally published on Maria Zambrano Viggiano’s LinkedIn here.
Something I rarely did before was spur-of-the-moment donations.
My intentions were always there. I wanted to give the instant I was inspired. I would think:
This nonprofit is doing something really cool and innovative. I want to support them.
This is an important cause that doesn’t get enough attention. I need to donate.
I’m so angry about this injustice! I must give immediately!
But then, I would go to the nonprofit’s link and be hit with a long form to fill out. Sigh.
I get why they exist but, man, do they sap the fun and inspiration out of giving. These forms are where my excitement to donate goes to die. I rarely persisted through the form to donate. I gave up. Many, many times.
The end result? For the last 10 years, a period during which my income has risen, my overall annual contributions to charity have been embarrassingly low. It’s embarrassing because I spent most of my career in the nonprofit sector and several of those years were in a chief fundraising role! I know first-hand how critical donations are to the success (and survival) of organizations seeking to make the world a better place.
I wasn't as generous as I wanted to be
My lack of generosity is also embarrassing because of how I was raised. I grew up in a low-income, immigrant family that gave to our church every Sunday. No matter how difficult things were financially, we always gave because God had blessed us with so much.
My parents taught my siblings and I to be perpetually grateful. That, even in your darkest moments, you are still among the fortunate. As two people who left countries in crisis to come to America, my parents fervently believed that our family had won the life lottery by getting to live in the U.S.
Gratitude wasn’t enough, though. My parents preached the importance and responsibility of paying it forward, a concept so beautifully encapsulated in Luke 12:48:
To whom much is given, much is required.
This value was ingrained so deeply in me that I joined the social impact sector straight out of college. It's why I eventually ran for elected office. Like my parents, I believe I am one of the lucky ones. I've spent my career trying to "give back." Yet, when it comes to my charitable giving, I have regrettably fallen short.
Why I joined Daffy to help close the Generosity Gap
Last year, I joined the team at Daffy because I was inspired by what they were building: a giving community focused on addressing something I have personally struggled with: "the generosity gap".
Most people are like me. They want to give. They want to be generous. But, life gets in the way. We forget. We get busy. We don’t prioritize it. It’s only later that we remember that we didn’t give enough or at all and we feel guilty about it. We resolve to do better, but then fall back into the same pattern. Good intentions. Failed execution. Repeat.
Every year, the gap between my generous intentions and actual donations grew wider. This is the generosity gap that Daffy is working to close.
Daffy is a modern donor-advised fund (DAF) and community designed to help people be more generous, more often.
Daffy is designed to make giving a habit by helping people set up recurring, tax-free contributions and donations. Our members contribute to their Daffy funds with cash, debit, credit, Apple Pay, stock, ETFs, or 120+ crypto assets. From our mobile app or website, they can donate to more than 1.5 million charities across the United States.
Daffy leverages financial technology that has made saving and investing easier and less expensive, and applies those tools to charitable giving. The idea is to automate setting money aside for charity every year, so that you don’t fall into the trap of forgetting to give. So that you close your personal generosity gap.
Some of my favorite things about Daffy:
- It helps me plan my giving. When I first set up my Daffy fund in 2022, I was asked to set a giving goal. It was the first time I was asked how much I wanted to give to charity in a single year and to plan for it by setting a goal. It made me pause and reflect, and it grounded my annual giving in intentionality. Daffy even gave me a calculator to think about my giving goal as a percentage of my annual salary.
- It keeps me accountable for my giving. Once I set my giving goal, Daffy divided that number by 12 and asked for permission to withdraw that amount from my bank account every month. Now, I don’t have to worry about forgetting to give. Daffy ensures I follow through on my commitment. I also don’t have to worry about setting money aside at the end of the year for a big donation in December. Daffy takes care of this for me throughout the year.
- I give when inspiration hits. I started off by sharing that I rarely made spontaneous donations. That’s changed. Since I have automated monthly contributions to my Daffy fund, I always have money available to donate. My personal information is also stored, so I can share it with charities without having to fill out a long form every time. Giving when I feel inspired is now fast and easy. Last week, I saw a friend post on LinkedIn about a new nonprofit she founded. I immediately pulled out my Daffy app, and after a few taps, my donation was on its way.
- I can bring my family into my giving. In October 2022, we launched Daffy for Families, a new feature that will let me add my husband and children to my DAF. Just like my parents before me, I want my kids to recognize their privilege and consistently practice gratitude and generosity. A family DAF, in which we are all active participants, will spark dinner table discussions about important issues and events impacting our world. We can decide together, as a family, how we use our fund to help the people and causes that matter to us personally and collectively.
Daffy will help me close my generosity gap this year. In 2022, I donated 3X more than I had in the previous year. I’m aiming for an even higher number in 2023. Best of all, when I make a donation, Daffy doesn't take a transaction fee. I love that 100% of my donation goes directly to charity. If you will indulge me with an old '90s joke:
"I'm not just the Head of Customer Success at Daffy. I'm also a satisfied customer!"
Come check out what we're building at Daffy. Let's close your generosity gap.