The 5 T’s of Charitable Giving

Charitable giving and philanthropy are often associated with three levels of engagement: time, treasure, and talent. However, there are two more T’s that are equally important: ties and testimony. Let’s explore what each of these T’s means and how they can enhance your philanthropic impact.

  • Time is the most common way of giving back to the causes you care about. It involves volunteering your hours to help with tasks such as serving food at a shelter or walking dogs at an animal rescue.
  • Treasure is the second most common way of giving back. It involves donating money to support the work of non-profit organizations that align with your values and goals.
  • Talent is a way of giving back that leverages your professional skills and expertise to help non-profit organizations achieve their missions. For example, you could offer pro bono legal advice, accounting services, or graphic design.
  • Ties are a way of giving back that involves mobilizing your social network to support the causes you care about. You could invite your friends and family to join you in volunteering, fundraising, or advocating for a non-profit organization.
  • Testimony is a way of giving back that involves sharing your personal story of why and how you give back. You could write a blog post, record a video, or speak at an event to inspire others to join you in making a difference.

Philanthropy is not just about money but about using your resources and abilities to create positive social change. The 5 T’s are not mutually exclusive; you can combine them in different ways to maximize your philanthropic impact. You can move from being a charitable giver to a philanthropist using all of these T’s.

Your philanthropic journey may go through different phases where you want to explore new ways of supporting the organizations you care about. You should get closer to their work, see your donations first-hand, or offer more than just financial support. To do this, you should brainstorm how to use each of the T’s effectively to achieve your philanthropic goals. A short process of self-reflection can help you identify your charitable assets, define your priorities, and plan your next steps.

We have some tools to help you with this process and are happy to assist you along the way. Also, please visit our Donor Learning Portal for more information about ways to give. You can also download a FREE copy of our Estate Planning Guide to help explain the estate planning process by breaking it into smaller, more manageable pieces.