I've spent a lot of time lately thinking about charitable giving.
I want my gifts to make a difference.
I want them to be used wisely.
As a Christian, I believe I am called to be a faithful steward of the money God has blessed me with, and an important part of that is through smart giving. And even if you are not a Christian, smart charitable giving is likely something you want to do too.
With non-profits bombarding us all with requests for gifts via social media, direct mail, and on TV, it can be difficult to discern if your gifts are mattering or not.
Here are 3 decisions I've made to make my giving more effective.
Give deeply instead of broadly
With the onslaught of requests for giving, it is really easy to give a lot of small donations to a variety of charities. However, when you do this, it's hard to know what that money is actually being used for or if the money you gave really made a difference.
Instead, I've committed to concentrating on a smaller number of charitable causes and making more impactful gifts. This allows me the opportunity to ensure the charity is a good steward of the money, is doing what they say, and I can follow up.
Additionally, at some level it also gives the charity the scale it needs to operate more efficiently, further boosting the power of your gift.
Give to what you are passionate about
This may seem obvious, but how many times have you been guilted into giving to a cause you were not excited about? This may seem harmless, but it still takes away from the resources you could devote to something you are passionate about.
I've committed to not being guilted into something you don't want to do. And instead, stay committed to the few causes I deeply believe in.
Give until it hurts
The Bible has a concept called "tithing" which calls Christians to give the first 10% of their earnings back to God. While Jesus didn't abolish the concept of tithe in the New Testament, He certainly set the bar higher. Instead of just giving 10%, He calls us to give until it hurts (and feels like a sacrifice).
I think this is an important concept no matter your religion. We are deeply blessed in the United States. Giving up something that "hurts," like your daily coffee or passing on the new shoes, so that you can give more generously to those truly in need, keeps our heart and mind in the right place.
Give more than just money
Most people think of charitable giving as just money. But in reality, most non-profits need volunteers more than they need another monthly support check. Be willing to get your hands dirty and help out the organizations you believe in.
This has the additional benefits of helping you learn more about the organization and gives you more insight into how your money is being used.
Aug 18, 2022