These days, it’s hard to buy anything without thinking about the influencer that probably sold it to you. Maybe it was a movie star advocating the best skin care, or an athlete endorsing new running shoes. Savvy marketers know that people are way more likely to purchase their product if they hear it recommended by someone else.
While a farmer and business person, John became an influencer long before the marketing concept was born. However, instead of influencing people to buy products, John influenced others with his generosity.
Back in the 1970’s, John provided unpaid leadership to the fledgling organization that became Abundance Canada (Mennonite Foundation of Canada at the time). In the early days, the foundation relied on the support of leaders like John and his peers that donated countless hours and often funds, to keep the vision alive. A vision that sees a world where everyone lives generously.
Beyond donating his time, together with his wife Paula, John expressed generosity by donating earnings from their assets to support leadership development projects in their church. When John passed away, Paula continued their shared generosity legacy by establishing a Flexible Gifting Fund at Abundance Canada even while continuing to donate earnings from their assets.
Theologian Albert Schweitzer once said, “Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.” John and Paula are not generosity influencers because of the amount they gave away, but because their radical lifestyle encouraged others to be generous. Simply donating his time to an organization that teaches charitable gift planning and how to donate beyond one’s income, John played a role in so many people’s generosity journeys.
Are there generosity influencers whose example have encouraged you to live more generously? Every action we take for generosity can expand our own potential to be an influencer and example to others.
At Abundance Canada, we work with many generosity influencers who act in generous ways that don’t necessarily conform to what is expected. They set the trend for generous living that the rest of us can follow.