New Year’s Resolutions for a New Season of Giving

Questions about starting a fund?

 As we enter 2021, I am reflective about what I want to change or improve this year. What is my New Year’s Resolution?

 One of my big resolutions’ centers around my charitable giving for the year. My husband and I have 15-month-old twin daughters. We are still at the new parent stage, where we have a laundry list of lessons that we want to teach them. The spirit of giving has always been important to us, so it is high on that list. We recently created our fund at Community Foundation, which we intend to fund our girls for their early lessons about giving and grantmaking as they become school age. While we do not have the $10K balance needed for our Donor Advised Fund to make grants currently, we are confident we can work to allocate those dollars over the next five years. 

I know what you may be thinking – how can we be so confident that we can save that much money for charitable giving? It is easier than you may think and maybe something you may want to consider about increasing your giving capacity.  

While not all the items below may apply to our giving situation, these are 5 of my favorite ways to increase your giving (or fund balance) without creating a vast hardship along the way.  

  1. Donations instead of gifts – Community Foundation recently had a fund created by 100 people donating $100 each. While this fundraised $10K in less than a year, the same general concept can be stretched into 4-5 years of Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, anniversary celebrations, or other gift-giving occasions. 
  1. Employer donation matching programs – Do you know if your company has one? If so, are you using it? I read recently that billions of dollars in workplace matching funds go unclaimed each year by employees. If you have this opportunity, the match from your employer can potentially double your donation! In the last five years, Community Foundation has matched more than $30K in charitable gifts made by our employees – that is a combined $60K+ that went into the community.   
  1. Make a change with change – If you are like me, you probably have numerous containers lying around the house holding loose change.  You would be amazed at how quickly it adds up. Early on in my marriage, my in-laws saved up change all year and counted it just before our family vacation. They ended up with a few hundred dollars!  
  1. “Swap” with another monthly budget item -If you have an unused subscription that you have meant to cancel (gym, streaming service, etc.), you can reallocate those dollars to your monthly donations. Many charities, including Community Foundation, can set up monthly contributions directly from your credit card or bank account. You might just check off two resolutions for the price of one! 
  1. Donate your stimulus check – A family friend recently posted on Facebook how, as a retiree, the income he and his wife receive has not been impacted by the virus. He mentioned that, if anything, their expenses were down because “we can’t do anything.”  He shared how they chose to donate those dollars and encouraged anyone in a similar situation to give it some thought.  It may help to kick off 2021 with some good energy. 

Speaking of good energy, did you know that giving is right for your health? A recent article from Cleveland Clinic talked about how giving can boost your physical and mental health. The health benefits include lowering blood pressure and stress, lessening stress, and increasing self-esteem and happiness. Researchers at Indiana University additionally found that donating 2% or more of your income can result in a significant boost in life satisfaction. That seems like such a small price for the benefit that comes with being a person who cares about giving to causes that matter.  

Do you have your own New Year’s Resolutions that include how you spend your time, talents, and treasures? Are there other examples of increasing giving capacity that you would like to share? I’d love to hear your thoughts.