The purpose of Stewardship Giving is to provide charitable financial support to organizations, causes, or passions that are valuable, important to you, and worthy of preserving. There are many layers of Stewardship Giving that a donor should know. Below are a few examples, characteristics, uses and other relevant features that can help you better understand the foundation of Stewardship Giving.

Understanding the broad aspects of Stewardship Giving is a good starting point. Typical examples of Stewardship Giving include the periodic giving to your church or place of worship (example: tithing), automatic routine deductions from your pay for local nonprofits that you support, or the fees you pay for your child to participate in various nonprofit sponsored activities.

These examples of stewardship giving all have several common characteristics, including but not limited to the following:

  • They are smaller contributions;
  • The contributions happen frequently;
  • They are routinely included in your monthly budget.

Stewardship Giving is funded out of normal monthly cash flow from your paycheck or earnings. Typically, it isn’t funded from your savings or investments. Stewardship Giving is intentional, routine, and is periodically assessed for its value, amount, and contribution frequency.

From a nonprofit’s perspective, Stewardship Giving is the bedrock funding for an organization’s regular operational expenses such as a building, salaries, utilities, etc. Stewardship Giving is almost always the giving of “unrestricted” funds meaning the nonprofit can use these funds as they choose for operational expenses and where the funds are needed most.

Unrestricted funding provides the nonprofit with the flexibility to allocate these funds to meet the nonprofit’s mission best. Unrestricted funds use is similar to your household overhead expenses such as your mortgage, your car payment, homeowner’s insurance, or utility bills. Nonprofits have routine overhead costs just like we have our standard household, monthly or annual expenses. Of course, once the nonprofit pays for its overhead expenses, additional stewardship funding is used for the programs that meet the mission of the nonprofit.

As you can see, your Stewardship Giving is extremely meaningful and valuable as it serves as a foundation of support for nonprofits and causes that are close to you as a donor. It is important to recognize that Stewardship Giving is unrestricted and is accepted as such for the necessary preservation, protection, and continuing operation of the nonprofit.

As a donor thinking of stewardship charitable giving, ask yourself what your stewardship pledges or gifts should be, and to whom you want to give. My suggestion would be to identify 3-5 passions, causes, or organizations that are important to you. On an annual basis, determine and review how much you are willing to allocate in your routine spending in support of your Stewardship Giving. Remember, the stewardship funding is part of your normal monthly expenditures so you need to be cognizant and comfortable with the amount given.

By having a better understanding of Stewardship Giving and knowing the amount you spend in this category of your overall financial life, you can better understand and appreciate the role you play in preserving and protecting nonprofits and causes that are close to your heart.

Coming Next: Type 2: Experience the joy of Impact Opportunity 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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Disclosure: Greg Doepke is the founder and principal of Aspire to Give®, a social enterprise that donates 100% of all profits to charity and is dedicated to unleashing the human spirit to advance philanthropy through donor education, social innovation, collaboration, and advocacy.
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.