Let’s Write a Giving Plan!
Randi Weaver – Good Giving Planner
Increasingly, personal financial planning is not complete until it includes a written plan dedicated to charitable giving.
With the end of one tax year upon us and the next primed to begin, this is the right time for you to consider writing one.
What is a Giving Plan?
It is a plan that helps you connect the dots between your charitable giving, volunteering, and the other support you give to non-profit organisations.
It helps you break down big goals into specific actions and activities and to prioritise them according to a set timeline, usually the year ahead.
If you are new to charitable giving, it helps you think through how and where you want to be involved, and to what extent. It will be the road map for your philanthropic journey.
If you are an established donor, it will provide you with a useful record of your giving.
Approaching charitable giving in the same way that one approaches financial planning, with a thoughtful and detailed plan, is beneficial in several ways. It will:
- Confirm the areas of interest, both cause areas and geographies, most important to you.
- Define your aims in charitable giving.
- Set a realistic budget for donations of money, time and other treasures.
- Provide you with a record of your giving. This is important in tax planning on an annual basis, but also for historical record-keeping.
What should I include in my Giving Plan?
It is important that your plan is personal and contains the right level of detail to be useful to you. It should be brief enough to remain completely manageable yet detailed enough to be a guide for you and others important to you who may read it and seek to help you achieve your plan.
Here is a list of possible sections to include:
- Personal Mission Statement. You may find it helpful to include just a few lines to maintain your focus. You may also use the mission statement in conversations with family, friends, and others to summarise your personal aims in giving.
- Personal Skills or Talents. This is an inventory of skills and unique talents that you may be able to share with a charity as a volunteer – whether it is on a single occasion or an ongoing basis.
- Volunteering. This is a section that lists volunteering opportunities which may be of interest and are ready for investigation, or to record and summarise what you are already doing.
- Budget. This is an essential section. It is important that you think through how much you can give, in money, time and/or treasures during a set period, ensuring that you do not over commit yourself. In terms of financial gifts, there is usually a distinction made between Core giving and Spontaneous giving. Core giving is the monetary support you plan to give to a named charity or charities over the time period covered. Spontaneous giving is a separate, usually more modest, pot which will enable you to respond to one-off unplanned events such as fundraising resulting from extreme natural disasters or sponsoring a friend in the marathon.
- Your plan for learning more about new organisations of interest: For example, you may pledge to join a mailing list, attend educational or fundraising events, read the website regularly or arrange to visit a live project.
- Review date: The date you will: review achievements, evaluate the effectiveness of the plan and revise it for the year ahead.
- Current organisations supported or a list of organisations of interest
Just as you would not set out on a road trip without a map and itinerary to ensure you reach your destination and maximise your time there, savvy personal financial planners rarely approach charitable giving and community support without a Giving Plan.
Make writing a Giving Plan part of your personal financial planning and you will enjoy: more control over your beneficiaries and budget, improved record-keeping and, to be sure, a greater sense of purpose in sharing your time and treasures.
As always, if you’d like to start a conversation about your charitable and good-giving plans, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.