Do You Have a Philosophy of Giving?

Anthony J. Ogorek | Ed.D., CFP®

Anthony J. Ogorek | Ed.D., CFP®

The holiday season is upon us once again. Charities have sold us on the idea that this is the “season for giving,” with a multitude of appeals. With so many seemingly worthy causes to choose from, how can we decide who to support? There has to be a better way than putting aside solicitations in a pile, to be rifled through at a later date, resulting in a likely deposit into the circular file.


Perhaps you have never given much thought to whom you would like to benefit from your largesse. Do you go through the motions giving the same amount to the same charities year after year? Would you like a more intelligent way to support causes that are important to you?


Spending some time crafting your philosophy of giving can be a wonderful exercise in clarifying what is important to you, your family, your community, or to the world at large. For better or worse we tend to support the familiar – organizations in our own community, appeals made by family or friends, schools we attended, hospitals that helped cure us – you get the picture.


However, there is a larger world out there. There are people who are in truly dire straits who you will never know or see, who can never thank you, in places you are unlikely to visit. But for the grace of God we could be them. If our roles were reversed, would you hope that someone like us would extend a helping hand? I think so.


A philosophy of giving can help to expand your charitable horizons, in addition to helping you to sort through the mass of worthy causes that confronted you during the giving season. It can serve as a framework for organizing your priorities and helping you to make more informed decisions.


A helpful first step in developing a philosophy of giving is to establish a budget. How much are you comfortable giving each year? How do you determine what an appropriate level of giving is for you?  Would it be a percentage of income, say 1-3 percent, or perhaps 10% of the growth in your portfolio? Would your giving budget be sustainable over multiple years? These questions have nothing to do with charities – they have to do with you.


Once you have established your budget, you may find it helpful to identify major themes for support such as local underserved populations or adolescent mental health. Watching the news or traveling abroad may inspire you to support international charities who work in war zones such as World Central Kitchen or Doctors Without Borders.


It has been said that it is better to give than to receive. The great thing about a philosophy of giving is that it will help you to reflect on your values, your life experiences and hopes for a better world.



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Ogorek Wealth Management, LLC

Ogorek Wealth Management, LLC