We all have varying degrees of gifts to give, but there are common threads that weave the giving blanket together—time, talents, ties and treasure. These are the elements that we each have in our wheelhouse of giving. Deciding how and when to disperse these personal gifts of giving will vary as much as the individuals doing the giving. Therefore, a certain amount of reflection is required to even step onto the ball field and a certain level of commitment is required to pick up the bat.

Before you take your first swing, however, you must take a moment to reflect on your own gifts for giving. After answering a few key questions including the “why give,” we can begin to assess the "how much to give" question. As we tackle the “how much,” we must breakdown the ways we can each give of our time, talents, treasure, and ties. Then we can apply those fundamentals in terms of “how much.”

Your Ties and Your Talents

When it comes to ties and talents, the answer to “how much” is pretty straightforward. Through our discovery process—whether that be on our own or with the help of a philanthropy coach—the giving of our ties and talents should become aligned and reflective of our passions and therefore causes that are important to us. We wholeheartedly bring our ties—our trusted connections that can help further the mission of the cause we are fully vested in—to the table. By utilizing our ties and inviting them to join a common cause, we are able to extend additional help, resources and collaborators that can facilitate positive momentum and social change.

Also, through our own assessment or with the help of a philanthropy coach, we understand that the talents, experiences, skill sets and wisdom we bring to our passion is an important form of giving. By fully aligning our ties and talents with our passion, we bring deep meaning and purpose to our giving and we are able to give it our all. Hence, the answer to the “how much” question as it pertains to the ties and talents is simple—we bring 100% of our ties and talents to the passions or causes that bring meaning to our lives and with which we want to make a difference.

The key observation in this personal reflection is, in fact, recognizing that we all have ties and talents to contribute. What is of the utmost importance here is ensuring your discovery process is thorough and accurate to properly align your ties and talents with your passions. Then giving it your all will naturally follow.

Your Time

Next up in the wheelhouse of giving is the gift of time. The giving of time is absolutely the most important of all our gifts. Why do I say that? Simply because our investment of time is the vehicle by which relationships, ideas, impactful programs, and ultimately results are made. Investing our own personal time in building relationships is the foundation by which we make vibrant and prosperous families and communities.

So "how much" time do we invest in the passions and causes that became clear to us in answering the “why give” question? Time as an overall component of our charitable giving plan is the same for us all. We all have 1440 minutes in a day—24 hours—to make the most of. How, then, do you divide the giving of your most valuable asset amongst all the demands that you have for daily living—your family, yourself, your job, and the giving to others? The answer is inevitably personal once again.

Recognizing that time is our most valuable asset leads to yet another personal assessment to determine how much time you can allocate to each of the activities you have identified as top priorities. In summary, the giving of our time may ultimately boil down to the following:

 

“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.”

Elizabeth Andrew

 

This quote sums up so eloquently the idea that while time is a precious resource, where there is a will, there is a way. If your heart's in it, you will make time. Realizing that the “how much” will be in a constant state of flux is the first step in the giving of your time.

Your Treasure

Thus far we have briefly covered three of the four personal gifts for giving. This leaves the remaining gift of "how much money" to give. This question is posed as a "money" question, but it actually deals with the financial resources that we have available to us individually. These financial resources can take on many forms including financial assets, real estate property, the value of our business assets, and other nontraditional financial resources. These can include in-kind donations, gently used property and collectibles. All of these are part of our financial resources, our treasure, or "money."

Money, or treasure, is also very close and personal to each of us. We need money as a means of exchange and for both current and future financial security, but this does not address our aspiration to give. Because treasure is so relevant to us in our daily living, it is probably top of mind awareness when we think of "how much to give?"

From the giver's perspective, there's very little help in terms of a focused and analytical means to determine the “how much to give” question. Financial planning software tends to focus on budgeting, spending and saving for familial financial security instead of giving. Professional advisors tend to shy away from the conversation of “how much” to give for several reasons.

Nonprofit organizations that are asking for charitable donations are usually not professionally qualified or legally able to answer the question. Therefore, in all cases, there seems to be a tremendous void in the ability of either the donor or their advisors to quantify how much to give. The only clear answer is, again, it’s highly personal.

With that being said, Aspire to Give is actively working on ways to fill this void. We aspire to start the philanthropic conversation - a conversation really worth having - and offer donor-focused education and user friendly tools to help with navigating your life’s giving journey.

So stay tuned…and in the meantime, let’s do some good!

Greg

Coming Next: Social Impact Investing as a Tool to Better Your Hometown

 

©2019 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

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.