Ten thoughts about giving

These days, people are being approached more often and more persuasively to give money to various causes. You can make those solicitations easier to handle if you include plans for giving in your financial plan. Here are 10 points to think about when planning your giving.

  1. Be deliberate, not impulsive. Think about how you choose to balance your goals for money: spend some, save some, share some.
  2. Your money, your choices — for where and how much to give. Many people make impulsive giving decisions, basing them only on who knocks on the door, phones or mails an appeal. Think about your giving priorities and amounts in advance and include them in your financial plans.
  3. Giving is not always about money. Gifts of your time and talents, work and wisdom are also important contributions.
  4. Get input on giving decisions from respected associates, friends, family, potential heirs and professionals such as your investment advisor or attorney. Be well informed about giving options, and you decide. Announce — don’t negotiate — your decisions.
  5. Planning to give is great, but it’s not really giving until the paperwork is done.
  6. How much you give is a personal decision. Make the amount meaningful to you.
  7. You can say no. Kindly turn down requests for charities that are not on your high-priority list. If the requests are persistent and unrelenting, be firmer, make your “no” clearer and harder to ignore.
  8. Review your entire financial plan, including your giving plans, once a year. Choose a day, such as New Year’s, to annually review your plan.
  9. It’s okay to follow up with charities. Ask what your past gift specifically accomplished.
  10. The timing of gifts is flexible. Give your gifts on your timetable.

Developed collaboratively by Cynthia Crawford, director of donor education, and Andrew Zumwalt, financial planning state specialist, both of MU Extension; and James Preston, senior director of development, MU Advancement, 2014.