Anyone involved in a non-profit will recognize the temptation to hold out for the big bequests and ignore the cumulative effect that comes from lots of smaller donations.

Every organization dreams of receiving a massive inheritance or endowment that will instantly catapult them into an entirely new league. It’sWhen people contribute financially, they feel invested in the project tempting to spend time shadowing the major donors and cultivating relationships with world famous philanthropists, but allowing this to become your exclusive fundraising strategy would be the equivalent of planning for retirement by buying a weekly lottery ticket.

An organization which has a broad base of supporters is an institution that has a future. By diversifying our income stream we allow many more people to join in our success, while simultaneously protecting ourselves from the potential impact of losing any one donor. When people contribute financially they feel invested in the project and their expectations become the true catalyst of sustainable growth.

The previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson, of righteous memory, once pointed out that when the Jews were building the Tabernacle, they could have easily allowed a few of the mega-wealthy contributors to sponsor the entire project. But Moses was specifically commanded to “collect donations from every single person whose heart is devoted.”1

Every single man, woman, and child was invited to contribute, and it was their shared commitment that built a fitting home for G‑d.

Give What You Can Afford

At the same time, the onus remains on those who can afford toIf you have more, you should give more give more to do so. In 1992, the Rebbe reflected on the fact that although every Jew was invited to contribute to building the Tabernacle, most of the actual work was undertaken by a few dedicated and talented individuals, headed by Betzalel and Ahaliav.2

If you have more, you should give more. The verse we quoted before wasn’t saying that the burden should be shared equally, rather each person gives as much as his heart can hold.

When each of us contributes according to his or her ability, together we ensure that Judaism will flourish and that every worthy institution will have everything they need to build G‑d’s home.