In the weeks since the launch of Boomerang Giving we have been in contact with a number of nonprofit organizations that plan to introduce Boomerang Giving to their supporters. That is nothing but a good thing. If a single supporter funds a new contribution by diverting (Boomeranging) a discount, then the nonprofit is securing additional resources.

But this barely scratches the surface of what Boomerang Giving can do with and for a community.

Consider a food bank in a town. Needing financial resources to add refrigerator and freezer capacity and expand food storage, it has nowhere to turn. It has exhausted its donor base, but the need won’t go away. As with most towns, there is no shortage of 68 year old or 72 year old community leaders. They get together and pledge to find 500 seniors (including the flock of baby boomers who have just turned 65!) In their Give Back to Your Town campaign, these 500 promise to track and collectively donate their senior discounts for one month to the food bank. The local movie theatres and others offering senior discounts help promote the effort. Boomerang Giving sets up a link to the new campaign and a way for everyone to enroll and to watch the total amount as it grows.

With restaurant discounts, bus service, and movies, the 500 seniors average $40 apiece in “Boomeranged” savings. The grand total for the food bank in “found money” is $20,000 which fixes the food storage problem. The food bank and those that it serves are far from the only winner. The seniors are actively engaged in the needs of the town, and the town benefits from that day forward.

For too long, those considered to be primary and essential community supporters have been those who can write the larger checks. But stronger communities emerge when everyone —regardless of age or income — is informed, engaged and as supportive as they can be.

So the gift itself is more than the Boomeranged discount. It is the way that seeking and gathering and redirecting those discounts “boomerangs” into community strength.

As communities and organizations experiment with their Boomerang Giving efforts, we will use to keep everyone posted, and to share the inventive ideas and approaches that emerge.