You Matter More Than You Know

A humanitarian who is raising money for urgent projects in Myanmar, Palestine, and elsewhere explains the power of individual donors to nonprofit missions around the world.


We live in a wealth-obsessed culture.

Those of us who are most able to give $5 or $50 to support the causes we care about might be apt to feel like we’re not really making a difference alongside six- and seven-figure donations.

But I work at a nonprofit.

As an insider, I beg you: please don’t let that fool you into believing that your involvement doesn’t matter.

At ActionAid USA, where I work, we believe in people power. Our vision is to support a global movement of people committed to social justice, gender equality, and poverty reduction.

In relative terms, ActionAid USA is young and our staff small. Right now, we rely on foundation grants to provide about 90% of our funding each year. Those large gifts have an important role to play, but we know that affecting real change—building a global movement—is also about demonstrating solidarity through sheer numbers of people and sustaining that over time.

It’s about people rich with compassion who give what they can; people who respond not just once, but over and over again; and people who spread the word to bring others along.

That’s why you—the individual donor—matter so much. And why we’re a member of the powerful GlobalGiving crowdfunding community.

We are all working together, and you as an individual donor are just as much a part of tackling the world’s most urgent challenges as anyone else.

For example, in the fight for climate justice, you are as vital as María, who’s confronting the palm oil plantations in Guatemala that are dumping toxic pesticides into the river by her home; as Celso, the Brazilian agronomist who’s helping María and her community revive alternative livelihood options; as Doug, the American policy expert who takes María’s story—or, if there are enough donors like you, María herself!—to meetings at the UN and World Bank to make sure that she has more platforms to make herself heard and demand that those in power take action.

Nonprofits that enjoy ongoing support from a large community are not beholden to any one gift or grant.

When a nonprofit is lucky enough to have broad, ongoing support, it’s more nimble.

A nonprofit with broad-based funding can shift the direction of its programs based on conditions on the ground. It doesn’t have to constantly worry about the lights going off or staff being let go if one major contribution is suddenly gone. You are our momentum. You make real change possible. That’s why your gift matters, regardless of size. Because it’s all about the power in people.

Learn more about smart giving practices that have the power to change the world.

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Featured Photo: A Just, Equitable, and Sustainable World by ActionAid

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