We all lead busy lives. We strive to balance our family, work and personal life, all while trying to fit in as much as possible. We get our children to school or daycare, we go to work, have errands to run, and we may be involved in a multitude of activities with our children, both relating to school and extracurricular. In the small gaps in our busy lives, we hope to serve our community and try to help better the lives of those in need.

In the context of our hectic lives, we don't give much thought to the financial generosity and consider those who need it the most. However, on the contrary, many people are often more giving than they let on. Providing they have the financial resources to do so, most people get a true sense of joy from giving to family and to causes and organizations that are important to them.

We may ask a critical question: how much should I give my children and other family members, and how much should I give to charity?

If we look at the concept of philanthropic generosity, we can clearly see that there are broad categories of charitable giving; each with its own unique characteristics. In this blog, we will merely introduce and define these three types. In subsequent blogs, we will look more closely at each category in much more detail. By looking at each of these types of charitable giving, you - as an informed donor - should be able to make smarter charitable giving decisions for greater social impact.

If you think about charitable giving in a traditional sense, we can easily see that there have been two types of charitable giving. The first is what I call "stewardship giving" which is evident in our routine giving. The second type of charitable giving that is emphasized later in life is "legacy giving” or our charitable giving at death.

In addition to these two traditional categories of stewardship and legacy giving, there is a growing interest, intention, and trend among individual donors to make a real social impact in serving their ‘hometown”. This may be by cleaning up the environment, bettering the lives of those less fortunate than themselves, and developing their local community as a whole. This emerging trend is the growing focus and intentional application among individual donors of a third category of giving which I have coined as "opportunity impact giving.”

To gain a clearer understanding of each of the three types, my definitions for each charitable giving category are listed below:

Stewardship Giving is the charitable financial giving with the intent to be a responsible overseer and protector of something that is valued and worth preserving to you, the donor.

Opportunity Impact Giving is the occasional one-time financial giving to a cause or passion that is important to the donor to improve a social, educational, cultural, or environmental condition.

Legacy Giving is the transfer of money and property at death to charity.

With a clearer understanding of the categories of charitable giving, you, as an individual donor, can be more thoughtful and intentional. With increased intentionality, you can make smarter, more informed decisions. Smaller nonprofits, in their fundraising efforts, can improve their fundraising and address each of the specific types of charitable giving with targeted campaigns.

So there you have it! We have briefly and clearly introduced the three types of charitable giving. In coming blogs, we will look at each of the three of these categories: stewardship giving, opportunity impact giving, and legacy giving. We will define each of the types and then take a closer look at the characteristics, timing, and examples of each.

Hopefully, with a better understanding of each of these three categories, you can become more conscious, intentional and impactful with your financial generosity.

Coming Next: Type 1: The Foundation of Stewardship Giving


©2018 Aspire to Give®. All Rights Reserved. Greg Doepke is a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® and a Certified Financial Planner®. Greg serves on the Board of Directors for the International Association for Advisors in Philanthropy and as the Philanthropist in Residence at Auburn University’s Cary Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies. As the founder of Aspire to Give® Greg educates and equips individuals, families, business owners, and foundations with both traditional and leading-edge philanthropic tools and techniques for smart, meaningful, and impactful giving. You can contact Greg at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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If you are interested in learning more about Aspire to Give®'s pursuit to advance philanthropy through donor-focused education, social innovation, collaboration, and advocacy, please reach out to Greg Doepke: Greg@AspiretoGive.com

Disclosure: Greg Doepke is the founder and principal of Aspire to Give®, a social enterprise that donates 100% of profits to charity.
The thoughts and opinions expressed in this blog are not representative of the views of ACG Advisory Services, Inc. or the Actuarial Consulting Group, Inc. of Midlothian, Virginia. Each client and prospective client agrees, as a condition of precedent to his/her/its access to Aspire to Give®’s website to release and hold harmless ACG Advisory Services, Inc. and Actuarial Consulting Group, Inc., their officers, directors, owners, employees, and agents from any and all adverse consequences resulting from any of his/her/its actions and/or omissions which are independent of his/her/its receipt of personalized advice from Aspire to Give® or Gregory W. Doepke.