“Young people today don’t love our country and they don’t want to work.”
This statement was made by a major gifts donor I interviewed a couple years ago.
The interesting thing about this quote is not that an older, white, U.S. citizen made such a statement. These types of statements from folks in this demographic are almost as cliche as the old man shouting, “get off my lawn,” at a group of neighborhood kids treading too close to his property line.
No, what made the statement truly interesting is what he offered next.
“But the students at XYZ University are different. I’ve had lunch with some of them. They are smart, driven, and good young people. Just outstanding.”
In general, the future was going to hell in a handbasket.
But, because he knew the impressive students at XYZ University, it was clear they were not the problem.
From cable “news” shows desperate for more eyeballs to the non-stop echo chamber algorithms of social media, our minds are being fed the most dramatic, damning, and gloomy predictions about the state of today and tomorrow. Turns out, fear, anger, and aggrievement are powerful human belief curators.
But after only a few personal interactions, we also can make exceptions to those beliefs.
Bringing donors closer to those they are supporting. Giving those who are benefiting from a donor’s generosity a platform to share. Creating opportunities for the sharing of life stories. Helping donors make exceptions.
Perhaps that’s the kind of work we should be doing more consistently.
This article was originally posted on Jason’s Blog in June 2023. To read more, visit www.jasonmcneal.com.