When things get tight, many people get insular. That is, they cut ties and obligations with anything that doesn’t protect themselves, and their own. However, this is when charitable giving is needed the most. Don’t look at budgeting for philanthropy as an either-or situation. It’s not either I help myself and my family or I have money for charitable giving. It’s about getting smart in how to do both.
Make it a family value.
Charitable giving isn’t all about having a big budget. It’s about making an impact. You can incorporate volunteer work into your family’s set of values. Budgeting time is just as important; create a regular schedule of events that the whole family can participate in.
Be a transparent advocate.
Talk to people about their philanthropic giving. Ask about how they make charitable giving choices, when they give, how much they give (if you have that level of trust). These conversations connect you with causes you might not have heard about any other way. If you’re a transparent advocate for giving, even if you’re not able to give as much as others, you’ll be doing good for the world. Your word of mouth support of your causes (and even just giving as a way of life) may help someone you know prioritize it in their budget.
Work with percentages.
As you earn more income, ensure your charitable giving grows too. Think critically about how you can be generous; if your income decreases, can you donate time? Statistically, wealthier people actually tend to give a smaller percentage of their income to charity. This trend leaves the people who most benefit from the services that charities provide shouldering more of the burden. Those who have been or are currently in need know first-hand the benefits charities can provide. If you’re not currently or haven’t ever been on the receiving end, be extra generous.
Do the math.
The biggest change with the current tax laws is that the benefit for giving has been greatly reduced, except for those who donate a large amount. There are a few simple ways to work this system, if you can’t donate enough to qualify for the tax break every year. Save what you would be donating one year, and add it to the next year’s donations, bringing your total up to the threshold, just every other year. Or, better yet, set up a donor-advised fund which you can contribute to every year, or every other year, while still supporting you and your family’s causes annually.
Your giving is creating the world you want to see, the one you hope your children will grow up in! It teaches many beautiful things about the value of humanity. It’s definitely worth including in your budget.
Are you ready to prioritize charitable giving? We can help you stay philanthropic and reduce your tax liability through donor-advised funds. Contact us today to start the conversation.