Do you have room in your budget for charity?
Does it seem like there are so many worthy causes in the world that just getting started with “where to give” is overwhelming?
To steal a thought from Jon Acuff author of, Finished the first day of creating a habit and to reach a goal is the most difficult.
How to Get Started Giving
It seems like the idea of giving has become incredibly commercialized with “National Giving Day” and for us, in North Texas, there is the “North Texas Giving Day”. I like to find ways that directly impact my local community.
Giving does not have to be all dollars and cents. Although charities depend on donations, many depend just as much on the time given by volunteers. Time can be just as valuable as money and this is especially true if you’re trying to work charitable giving into your budget. Let’s talk about ways that you can build giving into your budget – and other ways you can give back that don’t impact your finances.
Planning to Give
Giving as part of you requires a plan. Look at generosity as a skill that you build and become stronger the longer we do it. When it comes to giving money or time, the two things most people feel a scarcity around, it can be challenging to find balance.
Rather than wander aimlessly into generosity, establish a giving plan.
This includes specific amounts of time and money, as well as the names of organizations you care about. You can give an amount that feels like a stretch but is still within your means. Having a preplanned approach takes the stress out of giving and allows you to connect to the charity at a deeper level.
You can also create a Giving Bank, which is a savings account of extra money used to give freely when you feel spontaneously generous. Having a plan that includes limits but allows a spontaneous giving amount will help you give with an open and generous heart.
The Dreaded Ask
We have all been in that social conversation when someone says to you, can you give _________________ for the (insert name of charitable organization).
We all want to be socially accepted and saying yes is what we naturally and most typically reply. Yet we may have just committed what I would call the worst gift you can give. You said yes but meant maybe or no.
What happens when you give something you don’t really have to give, such as saying yes to donating time when you already feel stressed or overwhelmed?
Guilt and fear become entangled in the process and you don’t get to truly experience the generous act because your heart is closed.
I have a self-imposed rule when asked to contribute time or money to a charity. I reply, “I appreciate your asking and I would like to take 24 hours to consider this and how I can commit to the charity 100%. Is it ok with you if I call you tomorrow.”
This gives me the space to determine what I can do or cannot do. Everyone gets to win in this situation. No halfhearted efforts or social stress.
Research for More Bang for Your Buck
We all want to maximize our return on our investment, and I believe you should do the same on your charitable gifts.
How can you do this with a Charity? Make sure the organizations are using donated money wisely. You can visit the Charity Navigator website to see the percentage of dollars that actually go to the programs and services delivered. Charity Navigator rates companies partially based on this metric, so the higher the percentage of dollars going to program and delivery, the better the rating.
My Best Gift Ever
Of course, you know from the picture that I believe that Buddy was my best gift ever. This picture is about 30 minutes after we became owner and rescue.
What was my gift actually? I gave a lost orphaned springer spaniel an opportunity to be in my life. The real results were the I did not rescue him, he rescued me. Our daily morning and evening walk brought me into contact with many neighbors and friends that enhance my life daily.
Giving gives us all a chance to grow as humans.
Make your gifts count for your charity of choice and for yourself.
Have a great weekend
Michael Tannery CPA CDFA® AIF® ● CEO
Registered Principal | Tannery & Company