Just the other day, I was talking to someone at the office about the history of giving-for many millennia, giving was driven by religious decree and custom-almost every religion I have any familiarity with urges its followers to give in some way, including some that dictate tithing and even prescribe appropriate tithing percentages.
In my own religious background, giving is woven into the fabric of Judaism-farmers are told to leave a certain percentage of their crop for the poor to collect, we are encouraged to help the needy, give to the "temple", etc.
But what happens when religion is no longer the only driver of behavior is society? How do donors "learn" to give if not all of them may be participating in what has historically been the driver of giving?
Read about Gen Y, and a word that does not crop up often is "religious", "spiritual", etc. This is not to say that there are not a lot of young people out there who are very religious and spiritual-its just not a term associated with this generation in popular media.
So imagine just how riveted I when Marketplace ran a story about a new Bible that was targeting Gen Yers. Here is how someone in the story described this version of the Bible:
This looks like an issue of Vogue. There's Coca-Cola, photos of soldiers helping poor foreign children, Gandhi. Uh! Can't have a Bible without Bono.
And here is who, according to the story, this is targeted at:
Smart, educated, urban influencers, young, who know in their heart of hearts that they should probably have read the Bible but never have.
So what's the moral of my little story? Someone in publishing realized that if you want young people to pay attention, perhaps you gotta send them them the message in a way they are receptive to. Even if it's a message from the Almighty.
(picture from the Marketplace Story: http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/10/27/bible/)
In part II, thoughts about "learning" to give