For many folks in North America, we are now entering the coldest days and weeks of the year.
Yet, we know that the shortest day of the year – the day with the least amount of sunlight hitting North America – was December 21, the Winter Solstice, just over a month ago.
Why, then, when we are now receiving more and more warming sunlight with each passing day, are our daily average temperatures continuing to fall? Shouldn’t the date of the Winter Solstice, as the shortest day of the year with the least amount of sunlight, regularly be the coldest time of the year as well?
The reason that falling temperatures lag the shortest day of each year has to do with the vast amounts of water on the planet and the fact that water takes significantly more time to heat up than it takes the earth itself to heat up. (Think of how long it takes a pot of water to boil on the stove, versus say, how long it would take a rock close to a roaring campfire to get too hot to touch).
Temperature inertia in water is pretty significant and it takes a while for those longer, warming days to finally increase the temperature in all the lakes, oceans, and rivers around us. This is called seasonal lag.
In our advancement work, I’m convinced there is also “generosity lag.” It simply takes a while for most people to get used to the idea of letting go, of giving, of sharing. For many people they have gotten into the habit of accumulating and gathering and collecting. In fact, that habit may be a key variable of their lifelong financial success!
And, now, they are being invited to give and share what they have accumulated in a significant way. Maybe for the first time.
Just like with seasonal lag, where the days in the months of January and February may be getting more and more sunlight but it takes until March and April before our temperatures begin to respond by getting warmer, it can take a while for our donors to respond to our invitations to give. Giving doesn’t happen because we invite gifts one time. Consistency is the key.
So, keep inviting people to give. And steer clear of overanalyzing each solicitation and how it performed. It probably is going to take a while for most people to decide to give.
Our responsibility is to consistently invite people to be generous.
When we do that, there is a much better chance that more donors will respond by getting warmer.
This article was originally posted on Jason’s Blog in January 2024. To read more, visit www.jasonmcneal.com.