Along with other year-end financial to-dos, if you’re like most people, you’ll close out the year with a flurry of charitable giving.
According to one study, 37% of annual giving occurs in October, November and December, with December carrying the bulk at 20%.1 Realizing this fact, many organizations tend to solicit gifts during these months. In many cases, this is reactive giving, often done quickly without deliberate thought.
Making contributions at the end of the year is beneficial for the charities you support, but it may have less meaning for you. By rushing to beat a December 31st deadline with your gifts, you may feel as if you’re “checking a box” to make donations, with the tax-deduction deadline in mind. That’s not always the most satisfying way to give.
While your generosity is always appreciated, the reality for most organizations is that their budget demands continue all year long and cash flow is important for them to better plan their budgets and meet their goals. This is one reason you should consider adjusting the timing of your gifts to a year-round strategy.
However, year-round giving doesn’t only benefit charitable organizations. It also contributes to your own philanthropic purpose. By spreading out your contributions throughout the year, considerations about which causes to support are likely to be more thoughtful, and in that way, ultimately more meaningful.
It’s possible that because you’ll take more time to plan your giving that the donations you make in January or May or September will leave you with a greater sense of fulfillment. The tax deduction (if you qualify to claim it) is just as valid, but in many ways, your money may provide a greater benefit because you’re supporting organizations through periods when they face a cash flow crunch. It demonstrates your commitment to causes in which you truly believe and that you recognize the important role they play day-after-day. Your contact through the year may also help you feel more connected to your community and its needs.
Not rushing to make last minute donations before year-end also allows you to put more thought into the process. That gives you the opportunity to more fully incorporate your own values into your giving decisions.
This more deliberate approach can be categorized in different ways:
There are a variety of practical ways you can incorporate giving into your financial plan:
Any of these steps will be a good starting point, depending your circumstances. Consider establishing an annual giving strategy to the charities that matter most to you.
Learn how Philanthropic Services from U.S. Bank can partner with you to help you bring your charitable giving vision to life.