Structured Giving

In a recent post at Michael Simmons – Young Entrepreneur Journey: To Give or Not to Give wrote:

Living in the big city, I’m asked for money about 10 times a day. I probably give money about 2 out of the 10 times depending on how much money I have, how bad I feel, and how convinced I am. When I don’t give money, I always feel a little bit bad.

It’s a shame that con artists can affect our generosity. Giving is a decision we make in our own hearts.

As an excercise in abundance for one month I gave to anyone who asked, no matter how apparently worthy or unworthy they were. That took effort to overcome my Drug and Alcohol intervention training – never give money to a derelict alcoholic as they could use it to buy the drink that kills them. Luckily (!?) no derelicts asked me that month.

I have reduced casual giving to pan-handlers, they get loose change if I have it. Instead I give in a more structured way. I sponsor a child; tithe a percentage of my income; and give sacrificially to causes – that means I give enough that it hurts, not just what is comfortable.

The lesson is to make a difference with my gifts. I don’t think I’ve learned it yet. And I’m not talking about getting recognition for those gifts — many are anonymous. A casual $2 in the Red Cross appeal makes a difference if enough people do it. $100 in one go to a local Meals on Wheels has a more focused result. Making a $100,000 endowment for community outreach and leadership training in disadvantaged areas would make a huge difference in the right hands.

3 thoughts on “Structured Giving”

  1. Recently I was called upon by my accounting firm to help free my accountant during “lock up your boss day” – with proceeds going to charity.

    I offered $100 on the spot (on the phone actually) – to which I got such an incredible amazed response and many words of thanks. The girl on the phone seemed genuinely surprised that someone would offer such a sum of money.

    This both pleased me and concerned me at the same time. It is always nice to receive warm thanks for giving – that just adds to the pleasure of the act itself. However, $100 is not an amount that would cause me any pain whatsoever. I actually felt guilty about giving $100 – not because it was too little or too much, but because they thought it was such a big deal.

    My accountant has many very wealthy clients. I would hope that these people would give generously for a worthwhile cause. I wouldn’t have thought $100 would be a surprise at all.

    Then again, maybe the girl on the phone was actually an expert at these things – making people believe they are somehow special for their contribution no matter how big or small – a great skill I think !

  2. I agree that structured giving of excess income is important. At the same time, I think that one could make a larger difference by making a living of pursuing a passion that helps the world. By doing this, the individual serves as a role model and is able to make a living in a way that helps others.

  3. Sim’: I donated $100 too! Coincidence? I don’t thing Tony’s support staff are expert influencers, but maybe they were genuinely impressed that people would pay to lock up her boss.

    I avoided all that by not going to the office that day :}

    Michael: At this point in your life/career you can and should look to your future and pursuing a passion. You could changes nations by saying the right thing at the right time with the right skill.

    At some point before 40 many entrepreneurs (and other successful people) benefit from giving away not just out of thier excess income, but out of their essential income.

    Imagine giving away 5% of you gross earnings (pre-tax). Now there are people who support their faith with 10% of their pre-tax income. Nothing about giing excess income away. Some of these people are wealthy, many are not. Most credit their success to their tithing.

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