It’s the end of the year, and so you’re about to be asked to come up with a LOT of money: spending it on others, on taking time off and going on holidays, as well as for giving donations across the many worthy causes.
The timing of end of year holidays may make sense, but why do we GIVE at the end of the year?
- Nonprofits needed/wanted a day to compete with Black Friday and Cyber Monday and Small business Saturday … jk.
- Hypothetically: Tax incentives. Truth is these apply only to high-earning people who give a large amount of money annually. Most of us don’t earn — or give — enough to get specific write-offs. Taxes are not why we give, so don’t worry about it.
Seriously — don’t you dare let trying to overoptimize taxes get in the way of you doing what giving is REALLY about:
Being connected to people and changes that matter to you.
Yup: Giving is about connection and desire.
Three Steps to Get Your Giving Together
STEP 1: GET DOWN TO DESIRE
And connection, desire have no end point goal. There is no perfect connection ,there is just more and abundant connection. There is no penultimate expression of desire, there is just desiring and desiring again and desiring further, hopefully without frustration at not getting what we desire shutting your heart down.
2. GIVE WHAT WORKS FOR YOU
Financial giving isn’t right for everyone and there is no shame if you’re not in a place to give money right now! Here’s one way to look at it: if you’re disposing of income on non-necessities [random extra purchases you forget about], if you vacation, if you have ever had a chunk of money given to you – make sure you’re participating in financial gift. If you’re squeezing a second life from every dollar and not able to cover your basic needs [health/care, housing, food, baseline self-care] then statistically you’re more likely to already be giving AND it’s ok to scale back to smaller amounts, or pause financial giving if you’re not working with not alllll the money you wish you were sand have other critical priorities. It’s ok to do you and put the oxygen mask on honey!!
If you are capable of giving, here’s some ways to know what amount to give / how much:
1/ look at your income – give a percent. This makes sense if you want to sign up for monthly donations. And if your income went up recently, did your giving?
WHATS NORMAL ANYWAY
The average middle-class family gives 3% a year, for reference. If you make $100k a year that means giving at least $3000, or $250/month. IF you make $40k a year that’s $1200, or $100/mo. How does it feel to learn these? How does your giving relate to these amounts?
2a/ look at your holiday gift savings [because in an ideal world, you saved up a little every month and now you have a little bag for presents and your plane ticket and perhaps some to give away]
2b/or — look at your accrued savings/wealth – give a percent or a flat number. This makes sense if you want to give a chunk of money at once and be done for awhile.
OUTCOME: IDENTIFY YOUR GIVING NUMBER – for NOW, not ETERNITY
It matters that you know WHAT number you plan to give, so you can be accountable to do it. Don’t overthink the number too much, as long as your bills are taken care of and it fits among money going to your other financial goals, all of which normally and naturally shift over time.
Identify the amount of money you want to give and WHEN. Is it $500 to give by the end of the year? $150 you want to donate every month until you reassess next November? How much + when are important to stay accountable toy our vision for yourself!
3. GIVE IT UP GIVE IT UP!
Is there a ska song in the house for this? Give it up give it up! Give to people or groups or orgs you care about. But don’t expect too much of your gift. Don’t make it be perfect or do some weird extra labor just because youuuuu are givinnnggggg. Pass it on and move on. Reflect on how it feels to be part of the resources circulating in the world.
BONUS: DON’T POLICE THE GIFT and don’t get stuck in making the “perfect” gift — it’s better to move money than get stuck in your head <3
Guess who knows how to spend money that is given on their problems? People with the problems. Not you. Not a random nonprofit worker from outside the community. Not policymakers totally far away from the real issues. Get people money and let them decide.
You could maniacally track what an org does with every dollar, or you could give directly to people or to orgs that get money to people and go have some hobbies and fun with your life.
… just remember
PERFECTION IS PATRIARCHY & WHITE SUPREMACY SO DON’T BE PERFECT, BE IN RELATIONSHIP