Year-long Charity Planning
By Sarah Matthews, Director of Individual Giving
Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? How many have you broken already? I decided a few years ago that I was better off not making resolutions per se, but to set forth goals for myself over the next 12 months. I keep them to a maximum of three, and I make them very specific. This year, one of them is to learn to speak Spanish. I am traveling to Spain later this year, and I want to be able to get around easily, so I have taken steps to learn the language.
Another of my goals is to be more strategic in charitable giving. Last year my husband and I committed too much to too many organizations. While we don’t regret our giving, we could have been more effective if we had a plan. For example, we neglected to discuss some of our commitments, and we ended up donating twice to a few organizations!
This year, we are planning our giving, just as we would plan our shared time off for vacation. Here are the steps we will take; you might adopt something similar in your giving strategy for 2017.
1. List which charities we supported in 2015 and 2016 (we missed some last year that we meant to give to)
Review list – is there a theme: Education? Arts? Health organizations (like Visiting Nurse Health System)?
Highlight the ones we feel the most affinity to.
Add in ones we want to begin supporting.
2. As we consider the following, we will assign a rating to each:
Is either of us a board member?
Has someone we care about been affected?
What fundraising events do we normally attend? Will there be night-of fundraising like an auction or raffle?
3. What is our charitable giving budget?
Identify how much in our household budget we want to give away.
Divide up that money according to how we rated each charity.
4. Strategize when to give each gift – planning which charities will receive support each month helps us manage our cash flow.
Give at the beginning of the month – giving off the top and before we spend on non-essentials will help us stay on budget. Or better yet, enroll in a monthly giving program and set up payments automatically (like Visiting Nurse’s HealthCare Heroes).
Treat it like a regular bill and pay one each month.
5. Leave room for the unexpected.
For when a friend asks to support her run/walk.
We may discover a new organization that we become passionate about
At the end of 2017, we will be able to look back and see the difference we have made in our community and across the world through our charitable giving. If I can help you plan your charitable giving to Visiting Nurse, please email me or call 404-215-6012.