Let’s be honest…by the time the fourth week of bell ringing rolls around, are we tossing our coins into the bucket out of the giving spirit or guilt? When the mailers for year-end contributions start piling up, do we eventually toss out the whole stack thinking there is no way we can possibly help everyone, so why bother?! It’s easy to be overwhelmed this time of year without the cloud of “I should be doing more” hanging over our heads.
In this season of giving, we want to challenge you a little to think about your motivation for giving and the things you really care about. Inspired by the premise of Do Something Great Today, an organization dedicated to making a better giving experience for everyone, we offer these tips to hone in on a giving plan that makes sense for you – not just in December, but all year long:
- What things make you feel the most passionate about giving? Maybe one of those mailers that comes year after year isn’t where your heart lies any more. Think about what you care about now (and it may or may not be what your spouse cares about and that’s OK…just make sure you’re each able to give passionately).
- Once you’ve found your passion (or two), think about how you can give within your means over the next year. This creates a culture of giving so that it’s part of who we are, and not just something we do…and as a bonus, it lessens year-end stress and guilt.
- You don’t have to choose between giving money or giving time. A year-long giving plan can include a mix of volunteer engagements (the best way to really connect with your cause) and regular, small donations.
- If you have kids, consider labeling three jars, “Spend, Save, and Share.” Then encourage each family member to contribute to the “Share” jar with their loose change throughout the year – you’ll be amazed how it adds up! And of course, to meet everyone’s passions, you can divvy up the change and allow each family member to give where they think it matters most.
- Look for the Do Something Great Today app available in the App Store this January. It provides a platform for you to stay connected to your favorite organizations, letting you know when your help is needed – whether it is to volunteer, donate, or just do something kind. What a wonderful tool to help guide our giving in the years ahead!