About eight months ago I wrote to you about donor intent—the idea that when a donor [let’s call him Jim] gives money [say $5,000] to OC with specific intent [Jim wants to build an outdoor garden for the biology department], the University can only spend that money per the donor’s wishes [we’ll use $5,000 on an outdoor garden or so help us].
But that’s not always how donor intent plays out. Sometimes, when asked, a donor will give us money with a wonderful little wrinkle: “Put it anywhere,” they’ll say. “Wherever it’s needed most.”
It’s at this point that I lose it (in a good way). The Eye of the Tiger starts playing in my head and I have an irresistible urge to punch the sky in sweet, sweet triumph. “They like us. They really, really like us!” my inner-Oscar-acceptor shouts.
Well, donations come in two basic types: restricted and unrestricted. A wherever-you-need-it-most gift is what we call unrestricted. And it can make big waves for a campus like ours for many reasons. I’ll give you three.
Don’t let how obvious that statement is fool you; flexibility is huge. Think about it in terms of your family budget. Let’s say you made $3,000 last month, but your boss is a little quirky and he outlined restrictions for your pay. You’re legally allowed to use $1,000 on your mortgage, $600 on travel (including car payments), $400 on groceries, and $500 on miscellaneous utilities. You’re allotted $200 for debt payments, also, leaving you $300 to spend on incidentals. Everything not spent for its intended purpose in the month must be saved for that specific purpose later.
That’s great. All your major expenses are covered (maybe). But what happens when you have to make that late night trip to the emergency room? Or the A/C goes out at the house? Or you have an opportunity to invest in a promising stock? Or… you name it. You could have thousands in savings in the bank (you could even have millions), but if it were all restricted, you’d still have zero available to get things that need doing done.
It fuels many a ship.
A university budget is complex to say the least. There are hundreds of projects working at any one time—all of them good and all of them meaningful to someone. But not every ship on the OC waters has the fuel to really chug, not all the time anyway. And we need them chugging!
During the summer months, for example, when our typical fuel (tuition) is low, many ships would have to slow to a crawl without an alternative fill-up. That’s where our awesome unrestricted reserve comes in—filling the tank of not just one ship, but every ship it can.
It sends a powerful message.
It’s an amazing thing anytime someone gives their hard-earned money to Oklahoma Christian. It’s doubly amazing in my mind, though, when someone essentially says: “I want you to use my money to help change a student’s world…and I trust you to do that however you think is best.” To give unrestricted is to show faith in OC to the nth degree. And we don’t take that lightly.
Two million more reasons to love it.
With that third point in mind, I have some awesome news. You may have seen this on OC’s main site already, but an anonymous donor—someone (or someones) who just gets the unique influence of unrestricted giving—has committed an incredible $2,000,000 wherever-you-need-it-most gift to Oklahoma Christian.
But there’s a cool little catch.
He, she, they (I’m trying for anonymity here) wants others to understand the awesomeness that is unrestricted. So the pledge is a challenge. For every dollar our OC family gives to unrestricted between now and May 31, 2016, this donor will match it, up to $250,000 per donating family.
Give $50. Make it $100.
Give $500. Make it $1,000.
Give $250,000. Make it $500,000.
That’s astounding generosity. That’s astounding opportunity, too. And if you’ve ever wanted to make me lose it to Eye of the Tiger, now is your chance.
More (probably) soon.