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The Best Way To... Set Up a Giving Budget

January 14th, 2008 at 01:19 am

Okay, so from the intertwining of post topics and shared reading over the past few days, it looks like my brain has entered an intentional community with that of lux living frugalis. I'm glad my brain can do one good thing on occasion.

A follow-up on "I Ask Myself, How Much Do You Commit Yourself" and my Insurance Bill musings, especially after V's comment about targeting and planning charitable giving: I am reading The Better World Handbook and on page 266 is the suggestion of setting up a giving budget.

"On January 1, make up a list of your values. Then find organizations that are working to make those values real in the world. Don't let your giving be dictated by who sends you a request in the mail[, or who makes unsolicited fund-raising calls]. Do some research to find the best organizations and the ones that best represent your ideals. The last step is to set up dates and the dollar amounts that you plan to send to those organizations. A giving budget keeps your charitable giving at the forefront of your mind throughout the year so that it doesn't take a back seat to all of the other ways you want to spend your money."


I like this because it seems to me that groups will try more than annually to get additional contributions. This way I can record my contributions, collect receipts, keep records, and say to those who have their hands out for more: "sorry, my funds have been allotted for other organizations at least as fabulous as yours."

Consider also that charity begins at home: national and global organizations like Unicef and Doctors Without Borders do good, yet making additional room in your giving budget for donating to local non-profit organizations has the added benefit of local community improvement, a difference you can see.

Not only that, but making a list of one's values can be wonderfully focusing for how one chooses to budget time and money for maximum impact. We budget for what's important for us. Time is also valuable -- we should budget time to allow us to accomplish what we want.

GuideStar - Non-profits and charities search
Charity Navigator -- how effectively do organizations put ra...

5 Responses to “The Best Way To... Set Up a Giving Budget”

  1. denisentexas Says:

    That sounds like a good plan to me! I do most of my giving in August. Now and then I give at other times but that's when most of it is done. I find it easier to just do it then and keep a little aside for other times.

  2. luxliving Says:

    Thanks Paulette Goddard! That was sweet of you to say, even if I did scare you a bit.

    Your plan sounds good to me, those are some of the same reasons that our little family is working towards a goal of starting a Charitable Gift Trust or Family Foundation.

    We are looking at the fluidity it gives you in deciding yearly how you'd like your grants to be directed, and then once it's gone for that year, 'So sorry, but we've already allocated our charitable contributions for the year!'

    Today's church service brought to light a foreign mission that I'd really like to get involved with this year. It's going to involve me dragging a packing crate pallet to SS next week! That's all I can say right now --- more to follow on that later.

    But locally, we are collecting soup right now for our church's food bank. It is nice to remember that not all charitable giving has to be in dollars, but that we can give of our time and talents as well.

    Good post and TIMELY!


  3. JanH Says:

    I have several charities that I give to in our area, but I have no means to actually keep track of who and what and when. This is an awesome idea! Plus, I get a ton of requests, but I feel guilty because most of them are good things. But, I have things that are close to my heart. This is a good way to set down what I want to do and goals. Thanks for the ideas! And I need to go back and read Lux's, too. I missed that one.

  4. debtfreeme Says:

    i like this too. one thing i have done this year is add money to my grocery budget. (ok this make sense in a minute).

    there is a program here that you can donate money to the local food banks when you chekc out. there is the option of 1, 5, or 10 dollars. i pulled a fiver donation card and will do it once a week with my groceries. i also have to swip the tener donation card once a month. this will equal 25 a month. pretty good and pretty painless for me to add a little when i grocery shop. i feel better than just giving a grocery bag of items at during the christmas holidays.

    thanks for the reminder....

  5. V Says:

    (For Luxliving, let me discretely point to the Foundation for the Mid-South for donor advised funds. Beats using a bank...)

    For our intrepid dough nut, have you seen Donors Choose?

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