Charitable Giving: Give “Til It Hurts” – Spoiler Alert: It Doesn’t!

Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving’s annual event is today: Tuesday, November 30, 2021. But saying that out loud like it’s the only day for charitable giving is just wrong.

Hand holding out jar of coins for charitable giving

Giving Tuesday may be awesome and great, but the need never goes away. Never. But you already know that, don’t you? You can try to cover your eyes and sing “la, la, la, la, la” whenever poverty, hunger, homelessness, disease and disaster strikes, but you can’t really escape it.

There is a good reason why a day like Giving Tuesday exists. We need a day to come together and make a big noise about it and it works. But what about the other 364 days of the year? We need an explosive reminder that giving isn’t for just one special day.

Super “Saving” Means Super “Giving” Is Possible

When I write that I am saving more or found new ways to earn more at age 72, it means giving me more peace of mind. I don’t spend much on the trimmings of life the way I did when I was half my age. And rightly so. I have the “things” that I want and need for the most part. Nowadays, I spend more on doctor bills and medicine than most things so I want to save and earn as much as I can for that reason and the peace of mind that I will remain independent.

The “Fortunate” Ones

If you’ll allow me, I’d like to use the phrase from the old ‘60s song by Creedence Clearwater Revival where they refer to the “Fortunate Son”. While it referred to those who didn’t have to go to war because they were privileged, in this post I am using it to simply say how fortunate we are if we don’t have to deal with most of the serious and life altering problems that so many have to deal with every single day. That makes us among the very lucky. And that also makes us obligated, too.

Obligation is a word that we don’t like to hear very much because it means we “have” to do something. Doing something requires an effort, may not fit conveniently right in our calendar, and it also may stress you a little (or a lot). But us fortunate ones need to spread the wealth around.

How the Pandemic Changed the World in One Positive Way

You may be just like so many others of us in the way you think and feel about charitable giving. I don’t think I am wrong in saying that giving is something we think is right and we should actually do. It’s sort of a feeling we have that it is necessary and that we do it for many reasons.

If you do if based on a religious belief in helping your fellow man, no one is going to say you are wrong. If you do it because you just can’t tolerate seeing people suffer, of course you give. Maybe you feel a bit guilty about your good fortunes and that motivates you to give? If you give to save on your taxes, I’m still not going to knock you. Bill Gates gives. He probably gets all of those boxes checked.

But in our lives, the pandemic has changed something. None of us have been so closely touched like the way that this has touched us. The losses and suffering from COVID-19 have been so great here and around the world that charitable giving has been setting record highs.

Some Numbers to Consider

Charitable donations can be viewed and ranged from “micro” (under $100) to small (between $100 and $500) and so on up to supersized (over $50,000). But by far, the largest driver of total donors are small donations. Since the onset of the pandemic, small donors, the ones giving between $100 – $500 to all sorts of causes have been growing dramatically. It is worth noting that the gain here is a reversal of a five-year trend of fewer people giving more.

Online Fundraising Statistics

You can thank the internet for making donations easier and more frequent in the 21st century. You don’t have to look for someone on the corner with a pot to drop your coins in anymore. Because it’s easy, overall online revenue increased by 23% over the past year, up from 15% in 2019. Online donations to environmental and human rights-related missions grew the most, 34% and 37% respectively. Revenue from individual online gifts grew by 19% over the past year. Online monthly giving revenue grew by 40% as recurring donation options become increasingly popular with online donors.

The Importance of Kindness

I don’t think you really need a lesson on how and why being kind is so important. Let’s just say that sometimes you may need a “reminder” about it. When you are one of those fortunate sons, you need to realize that in many ways you are just lucky. Where you were born might be the reason or even more importantly, who you were born to. The way you were raised is very important when it comes to things like kindness and caring. You see it, you hear it, you learn it, and then you act on it.

My Own Commitment

Every year my wife and I sit down to make a budget. We include a line for charitable giving, but I have to admit it hasn’t really been enough. Every once in a while we contribute to something unplanned, like our local food bank or some disaster relief, but the planned ones aren’t what they could be. I guess we were patting ourselves on the back when we were making a certain level of donations and saying to ourselves that we were doing good. But it isn’t enough. So this year we are making new commitment. We are going to at least double our previous budget line for starters! It may still be a relatively small amount, but we think we can exceed it by saving more and earning more and then contributing more! Oh, and there is also volunteering time, too. That’s just one more way to help.

How Can You Participate?

Giving Tuesday is a global generosity movement. Giving Tuesday activities have been tracked in every country and territory in the world and nearly 75 of these countries are home to official national Giving Tuesday movements. In the United States, Giving Tuesday is locally-led in over 240 communities, networks, and coalitions.

There are literally hundreds of ways to participate. Whether you give your voice, goods, your time, or your money, being generous is the way to fight for the causes that you care about and help people in need. People in need never stop needing your help. Every day is really a “Giving Tuesday” so here are some ideas you might consider:

  • Share kindness with your neighbors
  • Volunteer virtually or share your talents
  • Give your voice to a cause that matters to you
  • Show gratitude to healthcare workers, service providers, and other essential workers
  • Discover a local fundraiser, community drive, or coordinated event to join others in your area
  • Give to your favorite cause or a fundraiser to help those in need
  • Talk about giving and generosity with your friends and relatives whenever you can
  • Write about it on the net (maybe blog about it!) so others hear you and join in

Matching Gifts

If you are motivated to give, one of the very best things you can do is to get involved with matching gifts. Sometimes an organization will have a donor provide a matching donation for each donation that you make for a limited time. But there is also a type of giving program that is set up by companies and corporations sometimes as an employee benefit. After an employee donates to a nonprofit, they can submit a matching gift request to their employer and the company can make an additional donation to that nonprofit. Double the contribution because of what you did!

Final Thoughts

Charitable giving is something I’d encourage everyone who is able to participate in. It can do so much good in the world, not to mention the good it does for your very own heart. Set up a line for it in your budget, and don’t forget to make those donations all year long, not just on Giving Tuesday.

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