Giving well can be a challenge. To influence the change you want to see, it requires a clear-eyed, strategic giving plan.
GiveNow has developed a Giving Wisely tool to help you think through and articulate your personal giving philosophy, set some priorities, and design a plan that will ensure you can match your intentions with reality.
You can’t help every good cause, so you’re going to have to make some choices. The best process is to start the four step process and revise as you develop your focus. Take your time. You don’t need to decide anything right this minute.
STEP 1: Why do you want to give?
A good starting point is to ask yourself why you want to give (or give more) right now. What’s troubling you most about the world currently?
Ask yourself: If you could change three things in the world around you, what would they be?
Here are some examples:
- “Provide access to high-quality health care to all people.”
- “I want the arts sector to be thriving.”
- “Reduce carbon emissions.”
STEP 2: How much do you want to give?
Giving doesn’t have to involve money, though let’s be blunt: money is what many people and groups desperately need, so if you have the capacity please do consider contributing financially.
How much should you give? We can’t tell you that (it depends on your own income, priorities, commitments and outgoings), but there are some well established calculation methods:
- Tithing: Tithing dates from biblical times but is still practised. Traditionally, tithing involves giving away one-tenth of your income.
- Effective altruism: Australian philosopher Peter Singer, founder of the ‘effective altruism’ movement, has calculated that if everyone gave within their abilities, we could cure some of society’s worst ills while having a barely noticeable impact on most people’s current standards of living. He has created a tool that suggests how much you should give based on your income – use it here.
STEP 3: How do you want to apportion your giving?
From your intentions outlined in step #1, to provide more detail for your plan consider:
- Who would you like to be the beneficiaries of your giving?
With this information, and then taking into account previous donations made, the tool will provide you with a Giving Dashboard to guide your giving.
Implementing your plan
With your Giving Wisely plan in hand, you can start carving up your giving budget. You might opt to give to a variety of causes, creating a giving portfolio.
Do some research to find which organisations are doing the sort of work you want to contribute to, which you can start by searching the GiveNow database here. Also, make sure you include on your list the groups you’re already supporting that you want to support more by reviewing your MyGiving account.
Before you give, it's a good idea to be aware of how the organisation operates. Some questions that you may like to ask yourself about a group include:
- Do I agree with its programs and goals?
- Does it achieve worthwhile results?
- Do I like the way it is run?
- Do I like the way it reports its activities and accomplishments?
- Is it already financially healthy? Would it benefit from my donation?
- How does it compare to other organisations of similar size, age and mission?
- What criteria will I use to decide whether the money I contribute is well spent?
- How will my contribution be used?
- Will my donation be tax deductible? (Does it matter to you if it’s not?)
Thinking broadly about giving
What else could you give? Giving donations is only one way to influence change. Here is a list of other ways that you can contribute positively to our world:
- If you don’t have money to spare, or if you want to give more than money, there are lots of other ways you can give. Check out this list. It includes information on how to give everything from blood to bikes to blankets to medical supplies to furniture – and even corks and hair!
- Another way of providing financial and moral support is by signing up or renewing a membership to an organisation you care deeply about. Financial memberships are much prized by many community groups because they give them an indication that they’re meeting a community need, while providing a regular and predictable source of funds.
- Volunteering is another popular type of giving. You can find places to volunteer at Vollie, Seek or GoVolunteer, or you could double down on this form of giving by joining a board, committee or council – search for board opportunities at https://www.ourcommunity.com.au/icda/board/search/.
- You can also use your personal budget to help create the world you want to see by making conscious and strategic purchasing decisions. For example, if you have “a plastic-free world” as one of your giving priorities, you might make a conscious decision not to purchase items packaged in plastic. If you value “a strong local economy” you could ensure you buy locally. If you want to contribute to “economic empowerment of immigrants and refugees” you might use a service like ASRC Catering for your next event. If you value “independent journalism” you might seek suitable subscriptions. It’s up to you whether you include purchasing decisions in your Giving Plan.
- If you’re keen to provide financial support for a community cause but don’t have much money to spare yourself, start a CrowdRaiser. Set yourself a challenge like quitting booze, getting fit or growing a beard and invite your friends to support you in your quest, while supporting a good cause at the same time. Get started here.