In order to set my goals in bringing the “Giving” focus point into convergence I wanted to do some research on quality charities and next practices (not best practices) regarding charitable donations. A couple key words in Google and PRESTO! an article from CNNMoney came up that might as well been addressed directly to me. You can read it here.
The article is actually from 2006 but as I continued to research more recent articles and posts it appears to be still quite relevant and quite possibly the resource for most of the newer information. Here is a quick summary on the recommendations that confirm I not only dont give enough, what I have been giving has been done all wrong.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I GIVE?
This, of course, is really up to the individual and their specific circumstances but here are some averages and standard guidelines:
- The average American household donates 2.2% of their income each year. This was from the 2006 article and finding more recent numbers wasnt as easy as a quick google search but most stats showed the overall trend down so I am guessing this is still a fairly accurate average.
- Churches ask for five times the above or 10%. I may rant on that one a little once I get around to the “Spiritual” focus point.
- Secular organizations use 5% as the target.
HAVE A PLAN!
“Knee-jerk” giving when solicitated is not focusing your generosity on any specific mission and it can actually be counter-productive. It is recommended that 80% of your donations be focused and planned on very specific mission(s) with the other 20% available for spontaneous donations. Just as I feel our taxes should be far more locally focused than they currently are I also like the thought discussed in this article of focusing that 80% on smaller, local organizations that are far easier to watch and ensure that your money is being put to good use vs. the large national organizations. If you do intend on donating to larger organizations make sure you check them out via www.charitynavigator.org
So here’s my plan to bring the “Giving” focus point into convergence. The image shows the requirements to move the “Giving” arrow inwards towards the convergence point with green designated as complete.
- Misc. Untracked Donations : I will have to do some memory jogging to list out what this equated to in 2010. That amount including my automatic donations to United Way will be the baseline I build onto.
- Purge House – All Donated: We have SO MUCH “STUFF” in the house that needs purged. Clothes, toys, you name it! We had a garage sale this past June that did OK but what it really did was explode all the “STUFF” that had been densely packed everywhere. It’s insane and it has to go. No garage sales, no ebay, it is to be all donated and put to better use either raising funds or being utilized by someone who needs it.
- $100 rotating KIVA.org loan: I first learned about KIVA in Chris Guillebeau’s book – The Art of Non-Conformity. I have since been researching the organization as well as the concept of microfinance. There is certainly some strong debate around microfinance but I absolutely love the concept of “partnership relationships as opposed to benefactor relationships” and the dignity that it facilitates. So I am going to give it a try while I continue to read and research the issue. I actually want each of my children to pick an entrepreneur to support at $25 each. I need to get them involved in giving as part of the “Family” point of focus. I expect to continue rotating these funds as they are paid back and most likely growing the amount in that rotation in future convergence targets. Learn more about Kiva here.
- Min. 1% of net income: I intend on planning a 1% donation on top of the misc. and already committed donations. This is the bare minimum. I hope to beat it once I complete and see where we stand with our personal 2011 budget. I do have a kid in college and another one headed there this year. They should certainly count as some charitable giving. 🙂 Besides, this is only the first convergence target.
- 5% of any incremental income: As a first step to increasing our giving any incremental income from todays baseline will have 5% of that amount planned for donation.
That sums up the plan for the “Giving” point of focus on my journey to convergence. I will keep my progress updated here. Next up is “Health” and not a moment too soon.
What are your plans for giving this year?