As social beings, people like helping others and giving back to our communities. We are innately drawn to working, living, and growing together. Today, with our busy lives and high cost of living, it can be hard to find the time and resources to invest in the betterment of others. However, giving – in some way – to charitable organizations is something that anyone can do, and we can all derive joy by investing in causes that light our passion. You may have already found your passion and are doing what you can to help. But if you are still searching for a way to make a difference, give some thought to what inspires you or what you care about deeply. It could be the arts, education, the elderly, our military, disadvantaged children, or a clean planet. There are many organizations that need volunteers and financial help to do their good work, locally and around the world. Taking the time to think about charitable planning can help to renew your life and the lives of others.
What You Need to Know: One traditional way to benefit a charity is to leave a donation through a will or trust. Charitable planning is a very rewarding part of estate planning, as it allows people to invest in their passions even after they are gone. Charitable giving can be even more rewarding if you contribute while you are living, as there is the additional benefit of seeing the results of your contributions. This also allows you to network with others who share your passion, which often results in greater contributions.

ACTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • If you have children at home, include them in your volunteer work. If you make a donation, deliver the check in person and take your children with you.
  • If you are retired or nearing retirement, you have the benefit of extra time to donate to your favorite causes. Some people choose to work part time in retirement so they will have extra money for living expenses and for donations.
  • Include all cash donations in your spending plan so they are part of your monthly expenses. Otherwise, you risk being an emotional or impulsive giver, which can have a negative impact on your finances.
  • If you aren’t sure how to contribute, ask the organization you want to help. They are sure to have a number of suggestions with different time and money commitments.
  • Whenever possible, work with local organizations that benefit your community. Get to know the people running the organization so you will know if they can be trusted with your contributions. This will also allow you to see the progress firsthand.
  • ​If you have more substantial means, a charitable trust is an excellent way to give, and such a trust gives you many financial and non-financial benefits.

THE KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Investing in a cause that we feel passionate about can give our lives new purpose.
  • Even if we have limited finances, we can still find ways to contribute by giving our time and talents.
  • Our giving can influence subsequent generations and others around us by setting an example and communicating our values.