How to evaluate your giving plan

When you create a plan to give strategically, oftentimes, you’re creating systems to streamline and regulate your giving. These efficiency strategies help you give more money to organizations that need it by automating your giving. While you are giving generously, you may forget that you’re even doing it because you’re rarely writing a check or even thinking about where your money is going. We’ve talked about this before on our blog – sometimes, we go into giving autopilot.

To make giving something you’re thinking about regularly, we recommend evaluating your giving regularly. We don’t answer the “Where should I give?” and “How much should I give?” questions, but there are more things to evaluate when it comes to philanthropy! Here are several ideas to get you started:

Do I want to designate my gifts?

When you disburse a grant to a nonprofit organization, it most often goes to the organization’s general donation pool. The organization can use those funds at its discretion. But, some nonprofits allow donors to invest in more specific programs so they can better understand how their donation is making an impact. There are a few common types of donation pools:

  1. Programmatic initiatives – Some organizations allow donors to specifically invest in their longstanding programming. Instead of giving to an organization overall, you might be able to choose one of their specific support programs and invest in that work.
  2. Seasonal campaigns – Nonprofits sometimes provide seasonal services like summer camps or holiday meals. You can support these specific efforts seasonally.
  3. Specialty campaigns – Sometimes referred to as a capital campaign, specialty campaigns help nonprofits meet specific, timely needs. For example, many nonprofits will run a capital campaign to make essential building repairs or renovations. You can help a nonprofit continue its work by investing in these efforts.

Connect with the team at CCF to learn about how to designate your grants for a specific purpose.

Do I want to adjust my giving cadence?

Most donors request grants at a certain rhythm – and when that rhythm is automated, it’s easy to forget you’re doing it! No matter how often you make donations, taking time to evaluate your cadence is an easy way to reconnect with your philanthropic journey. Depending upon the organizations you donate to and your family’s personal financial circumstances, it may make more sense to donate smaller amounts frequently or to donate one large amount at one time. While we will never advise our donors on how much to give, our team can help you time your giving in a way that will make the most impact.

Can I be more impactful by adjusting my donation timing?

It’s always our goal for our family of givers to use their accounts frequently to bless organizations in need. Oftentimes, this means that you are budgeting an amount for charitable donations, placing that amount in your donor-advised fund, and doling it out during the course of a year. One way to keep this process more engaging is to look back at the last year and see when you received the most requests for donations from nonprofits you love. Depending upon the organizations you support, you might field more requests as school restarts, as the holidays approach, as winter sets in or as the summer starts to heat up. This can help you reserve excess funds to meet in-the-moment needs throughout the year. As you respond to requests throughout the year, you are becoming a more active giver!