Seattle-area Philanthropy Advisor, Richard Bray of www.StrategicGivingAdvisor.com shares practical steps on getting your charitable giving in shape through a Strategic Giving Fitness Plan for 2014
Resolutions! Health and fitness plans are top ones for many. But Richard Bray of Strategic Giving Advisor would like you to consider one more—a strategic giving fitness plan for the New Year. “Get your charitable giving in shape by following my seven steps for a personalized, strategic giving plan,” says Bray.
Pick the Right Cause
Picking the right cause is crucial if you want to make impact in the New Year. What concerns do you think are the most pressing? Is there an issue that has touched you? Check out www.Guidestar.org to learn about charities across the nation. In some cities, like Seattle, a community foundation evaluates local groups.
Foster good work all year long. Occasional giving is fine, but consistent giving enables non profits to plan and implement effective programs all year long. Your commitment to monthly donations is one of the most valuable ways to achieve results. Simply make it part of your budget.
Evaluate your Skills & Volunteer
Think of skills you have that can best add value. Be strategic in using your talents so you can make a big difference to a charity. Explore possibilities by checking with United Way, volunteer matching websites such as Volunteer Match and Idealist, or your place of worship or community organization.
Organizing food, clothing, and other necessities drives are a great way to foster assistance to a non-profit. Incorporate such drives with existing groups that you are part of: at work, your professional group, church group, or other association. Piggy-backing on existing social gatherings is a great way to make a difference and reduces event organization. Find out what your favorite charity needs and organize a collection for them.
Involve Family & Friends
Think how you can combine time with family and friends to help a worthy cause. Enjoy lunch at a non-profit restaurant. Attend a charity fundraising event together. Volunteer to serve meals, pack food, collect items, serve on a board or event committee, or help in some other way. Invite those close to you to join in monetary support of meaningful outreach. Strategic giving can deepen friendships, strengthen charity outreach in the community and leave everyone feeling more fulfilled.
Remember Charity in your Estate Plan
Give yourself and those you care about the ultimate gift—a completed estate plan. Provide for the future well-being of those that depend on you and leave a legacy gift to charity as part of your “love letter” when you are no longer here. A bequest in your will or living trust or beneficiary designation in your life insurance, life insurance, bank or investment account are some of the ways you can make a future legacy gift.
Turn Special Occasions into Philanthropy Celebrations
Lighten up on material things and foster things that matter this year. Turn birthdays, anniversaries and other occasions into philanthropy celebrations. Sixteen year old Amanda Keppler in Renton, Washington turned her “Sweet 16” into an event of giving. Instead of getting presents, she asked guests to make a donation to the Seattle Humane Society to buy food and supplies for animals at the shelter. Amanda and her friends still had a fun party. But their gathering made an impact--something these youth won’t forget! You could do something similar this year for one or more special occasions.
In 2014 get your charitable giving into shape. Put together a strategic giving fitness plan and enjoy more results than you’ve ever dreamed. You can do it. Contact Richard Bray if you need help. Happy New Year!
Richard Bray is the founder of Strategic Giving Advisor. The Seattle-area company helps individuals and businesses with strategic charitable giving and philanthropy that reflects their values and impacts our world. They also coach non-profits on how to increase fundraising effectiveness. He can be reached at www.StrategicGivingAdvisor.com.