Charitable Giving: Do You Have a Strategic Plan?

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If you’re like many people, you probably donate both money and time to support charitable causes that you believe in. But have you ever thought about creating a charitable giving strategic plan?

Doing so will provide a structured approach that will help you decide which charities you will support financially and with your time and talents. Just as importantly, it be easier to politely say “no” to other causes that don’t fit into your charitable giving strategy.

Making Hard Choices

One of the hardest things about charitable giving is deciding which worthy causes you will support. The number of charitable causes looking for help is practically unlimited — but your time and money, unfortunately, are not.

So you need to make hard choices in order to be able to say “no” to some charitable causes that, while they might be worthy, simply don’t meet your personal criteria for support. To do so, ask yourself a few questions:

  • What problems and issues am I most passionate about trying to help solve?
  • What kinds of skills, gifts and talents do I possess that could best be put to work in serving a particular cause?
  • Are there any charitable organizations I know of that are in particular need of support, whether financially or in the form of donated time and talent?
  • Do I own a business that could donate a specific kind of resources, such as specialized labor or goods?

Once you have answered questions like these, it will be easier to decide which charities are the best match for your passions and interests and the specific needs of different charitable organizations.

A Few Examples

For example, Sally is passionate about helping people who live in third-world countries where there isn’t access to clean drinking water. Through her church, she found out about an organization devoted to providing water filters to communities in several of these countries. She decided not only to give money each month to this organization, but also to travel overseas with them once a year to distribute the water filters within the communities that are being served.

John, meanwhile, is passionate about protecting the environment. When he went to a recent meeting held by a local environmental group, he learned about how the group is holding a series of events to help educate citizens about what they can do to reduce their carbon footprint. He decided to contribute to the organization financially as well as serve as a volunteer at the community education events.

And Regina, who owns a restaurant, is passionate about helping homeless people in her community. At the end of each day, instead of throwing away perfectly good food that hasn’t been sold, she has arranged for the food to be delivered to a local homeless shelter. She also regularly gives money to the shelter and volunteers in the kitchen every Saturday, serving meals to the men, women and families who are staying there.

Matching Passions With Needs

In each of these stories, someone matched his or her passions and resources with a need that is being addressed by a charitable organization. Sally, John and Regina did more than just “write a check” — they donated both their money and time to support causes that are near and dear to them personally.

Of course, this isn’t to say that they can’t donate money and time to any other charitable organizations. But with a charitable giving strategic plan in place, they can filter charitable requests and needs through the lens of questions like those listed above — and make charitable giving decisions based on the answers.

Give us a call if you’d like to discuss charitable giving strategies in more detail. We can help you put together your charitable giving strategic plan.


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