Satisfied Giving: Tips for Personal Philanthropy

Delhi Middle School students
Delhi Middle School students at Crayons to Computers.

By Amy Cheney

Giving back is supposed to feel good. But it turns out, many Americans are dissatisfied with their charitable giving. A friend of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Daniel Torbeck of UBS Financial Services, recently pointed out this fact in this excellent editorial in The Cincinnati Enquirer.

“Americans’ dissatisfaction with giving practices has a lot to do with how they do it, which, we found, is largely haphazardly.” – Daniel Torbeck

Research has shown giving releases endorphins and often makes a person feel good. If you aren’t feeling the joy of giving due to a haphazard approach, consider the following tips.

Why do we give?

Giving is a deeply person act. It will be worth taking time to consider what values you hold most dear. Be sure that your giving reflects your individual values.

Most people give for one of the following reasons:

  • Passion (your favorite nonprofit organization, health cause, or place of worship)
  • Loyalty or obligation (like to an alma mater)
  • Reaction (such as an emergency need, natural disaster or a friend asked you to support a charity walk )

Creating a good mix

To feel more satisfied about your personal giving, create a plan. Review your recent giving to see patterns in your giving. Making a plan is easier (and more fun!) than you may think.

As suggested by Jason Franklin of Bolder Giving, a good place to start with your giving plan is to break down your giving with the 50/30/20 formula:

  • 50% of giving to be for your passion
  • 30% out of loyalty/obligation
  • 20% in reaction to needs as they arise.

Adjust the formula to determine the mix is right for you and your family, and create a plan for your 2015 giving based on what you decide. With these plans, it also is smart to leave a percentage of your giving as unspecified, so you have the freedom to react or respond throughout the year.

Planning for impact

Planning your giving will leave you feeling more satisfied with how you give and will ultimately make a greater impact in the areas you care about most. A giving plan also prevents you from saying yes to charitable obligations to which you’re not committed.

Consider reviewing your giving plan each year. You’ll not only feel less frazzled, but you can have some great conversations about where you want your money to go.

We are proud to offer our donor families various resources to make their giving more focused. Please contact The Greater Cincinnati Foundation‘s Giving Strategies Group if you have any questions about creating a plan for your giving at 513-241-2880 or info@gcfdn.org.

Amy L. Cheney CPA, CAP® is The Greater Cincinnati Foundation‘s Vice President for Giving Strategies. Learn more about her here.

About The Greater Cincinnati Foundation

The Greater Cincinnati Foundation helps people make the most of their giving to build a better community. We believe in the power of philanthropy to change the lives of people and communities.

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