The Giving Season is upon us. Between Giving Tuesday, the Salvation Army Santas standing outside your favorite shops, and the influx of donation requests you’re getting in the mail, you’ve probably got giving on the brain. On this episode of Worth It, we’ll be talking about donations — including how you can make more impact with something called a “charitable giving policy.”
[00:52] Why many people don’t think about planning their charitable giving
[01:42] The role of the board of a nonprofit (hint: it’s to raise money)
[02:20] How to streamline the giving process
[03:20] How to choose nonprofits or causes for your charitable giving
[04:18] What charitable giving means
[07:15] Why the negative stereotypes of Millennials don’t apply when it comes to charity
[09:24] The challenges biz owners and entrepreneurs face with planned giving
[10:54] What you should feel about the charity/causes you support
[11:35] How to align your giving to your personal and business values
[12:13] The risk of saying you’ll “donate later”
[14:06] How to use our Ikigai worksheet to find your charity
[15:07] What a charitable theme is
[16:06] How to use this theme to accept or reject charitable requests
[17:42] The value of looking in your own backyard first
[19:06] How to connect with a nonprofit or charity you love
[19:21] The 25% Rule
[20:01] Remember you can start small and build from there
As we were preparing for this episode, we found statistic after statistic about how awesome our generation (shoutout to our fellow elder Millennials) is at giving back. While most statistics agreed that we aren’t able to donate the most money (yet), we donate our time, skills, and goods more than other generations.
It’s clear that Millennials — and other generations, to be fair — want to give back. But what we’re seeing within our own circle of the financial planning world is that business owners and entrepreneurs especially have this passion and drive to donate to charities and causes they believe in. Y’all are some of the most generous people we’ve met, so let’s talk about we can direct that generosity in ways that make even more impact!
Do you donate monthly to organizations like the ASPCA, or are you more of a Giving Season donor? Do you find a cause you resonate with on Facebook and click the “Donate Now” button to send them a few bucks? Most of us donate in these ways; we send a few bucks here and there to a few charities, hoping that even a little bit can help.
The good news is: every dollar helps. But if you’re really hoping to make a bigger impact, it might help to choose one or two charities to donate to on a larger scale. This doesn’t mean you’re “stuck” with these 1-2 charities forever. It just means you’re going to be focusing your attention and money on them for the time being. Sound scary, or like we’re telling you to donate beaucoup bucks? We’re not!
Even entrepreneurs and business owners with a ton of cash to spare struggle to figure out how much they should be donating. Between the guilt of not giving enough and the concerns that you’re giving too much, it can be stressful. That’s why we always recommend creating a charitable giving policy so that you can get clear on what you want to donate and to which organization — without worrying.
In this episode, we break down the four steps to creating your charitable giving policy so that you can start donating to causes that really feel good. It starts, as most things here at Toujours Planning do, with the Ikigai Worksheet. With the Ikigai, you’ll answer the four questions and find the theme that overlaps each of them.
This theme is your charitable theme. Maybe health is your Ikigai, so you can choose a health-centric charity. Maybe freedom is your theme, so you might consider nonprofits that focus on human rights. Maybe your theme is kindness, so you can find a local animal shelter to support. Whatever your theme is, there’s bound to be a nonprofit or charity you can support that’s in line with it. We find that doing this Ikigai “groundwork” really helps our clients get aligned with where they want to make an impact, so don’t skip this step!
Last but not least, it’s time to partner with an organization. You might be thinking you can just send your “theme” organization a few bucks a month, but we want you to take a different approach. Contact the organization you choose (bonus points if it’s local!) and set up a time to meet in person. Use that meeting to ask questions about the organization, or to see the work they’re doing. If it all feels like the right fit, ask how you can set up a charitable giving plan or a recurring donation. Even if you only have $50 a month to donate, let them know that you’d like to commit that money to their cause.
This personal connection to the cause you want to support is so powerful. It will also likely encourage you to keep up regular giving, even if income is variable or your own expenses change. As we mention a lot on Worth It, we recommend saving and giving 25% of your income. If you’re not there with your saving or giving yet, that’s OK. But start somewhere!
The truth is, you can make a huge impact with just a few bucks. You can do that by focusing your attention on a couple causes that mean a lot to you, and by committing to supporting them for the foreseeable future. More than anything, it’s important that the charities you choose to support align with your values and vision, and that you feel you’re making a difference. Because you are! For more in-depth guidance on how to set up your own charitable giving policy, make sure to tune into the full episode!
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