A Giving Strategy

Around this time of year, I find clients receiving an influx of mail from charitable organizations soliciting donations.  It can be difficult to sort through the mail and make decisions about how much to give and which organizations to support. At times, discarding the mail can be a challenge and often leaves you feeling guilty.

My solution to this problem is to establish what I call a giving strategy.  By having a plan  and sticking to it, you will have the confidence that you have made the level of donations that make you feel good and you can be comfortable with. Having a plan and being comfortable with what & where you choose to give can help take the guilt and stress out of not responding to other requests.

Here are Some Tips for a Successful Giving Strategy:

How Much to Give

Set a budget each year for charitable giving. Determine how much of your income you would like to set aside. Then, choose the top causes or charities that you would like to support, and assign a percentage to each of them.  Keep an amount dedicated to discretionary giving, so that you can give small amounts to the boy scouts selling wreaths or drop extra change in the collection bins at checkout lanes if you feel moved to do so.

Dealing with Donation Requests

Make use of your giving strategy when handling calls or in-person requests for donations. Being able to mention that you have a plan for donations already can give you the confidence to say no to other solicitations.

When to Give

Choose when you’d like to give; some people decide to make annual gifts, and others like to donate throughout the year.  By making a timeline for when you will make your donations, you are less likely to forget if you already donated to a group. Charities will send repeated solicitations, especially if you have given in the past, so it can make keeping track of your donations challenging.

Know where your Contribution is REALLY Going

Do your research to make sure charities are reputable and that funds are going to the programs and causes that you are expecting to support. Give Well and Charity Watch are a couple of great resources.

Zero Guilt

Don’t be “guilted” into donating just because a group or organization sent you address labels, note cards, calendars, dollar bills, etc. It’s perfectly OK to recycle those items too!

Keep a Record

Make a folder for charitable donation receipts for each year and be sure to keep receipts for tax purposes, but also for your own memory and record-keeping.  If a receipt is not available, make yourself a note on the inside of the folder so you remember.

Making Non-Cash Donations 

Remember that you can make in-kind donations of unwanted or extra household goods, clothing, pantry items throughout the year as well.  Make a bag, box, or staging area in your home and use it as an ongoing place to cycle things out to support charitable groups. 

Already have a giving strategy? What works and what doesn’t? Share in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you! 

About Wendy Buglio

Wendy is the CEO & Owner of Living Peace, a Certified Professional Organizer who has earned both Level II CD (Chronic Disorganization) and ADD Specialist designations from the Institute for Challenging Disorganization.

She is dedicated to discovering what’s most important and then developing strategies to get everything else out of the way. With her non-judgmental approach and calming energy (combined with a healthy dose of reality and a sense of humor), she works with clients to make decisions and take action to create desired change. She applies this approach to physical objects in residential and office environments, but also to intangible “clutter” – such as tasks, obligations and goals – helping to maximize her clients’ productivity and organization. Some of her favorite clients have ADD – something that Wendy sees as an asset to creative thinkers and entrepreneurs!

Wendy lives in Arlington, MA with her husband Mike (bookstore owner), their 7-year-old son Tony, and rescue dog Rosie. In her free time, she loves to entertain and plan events, visit Downeast Maine, and is a competitive fantasy football player. She is a repeat 39-mile walker for the Avon 39, The Walk to End Breast Cancer.

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