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Skagit Valley Hospital

Annual Giving Plan Tool: How to Organize to Whom and When You Give

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Aggie’s post last week got me thinking about how I give. And the result is: I give somewhat haphazardly. For the most part, I know to whom I give every year, but when I do my taxes I am often surprised when I see the pile of receipts stuffed into my tax folder. I tend to give multiple small gifts per year without really keeping track of how much I’ve given to a particular organization.

How much should I budget to give per year? A ten percent tithe is common for religious denominations. I grew up Catholic and it was my job every week to drop our family donation envelope in the basket. We donated because we were a member of that community and it was our duty and our privilege to support it. But now, I consider myself to be a member of multiple communities now and it is my duty and privilege to support all of them.

According to the 2010 Giving USA annual report, in 2009, individuals gave 2.1 percent of their disposable income to charitable causes. My personal giving last year was about 2.3 percent, so I’m right with the pack. Ten percent of my net income to philanthropic causes is too much of a stretch for my single-earner/parent household, but could I do five percent?

What I can do for sure is be more organized and thoughtful about my giving. Instead of adding all my receipts up after the fact and being surprised at what I gave (or didn’t), I’m going to decide what percentage of my income can be set aside for charitable giving and plan out my 2011 gifts.

To help in this task, I’ve created a very simple Personal Annual Giving Plan tool in Excel. I’ve filled in some organization examples and amounts. You can delete and fill in your own. The base net salary I’ve used as an example is $50,000. Five percent dedicated to annual giving would be gifts totaling $2,500. What would it look like if you gave five percent of your disposable income to charitable organizations? Is it possible? If not, what’s reasonable for you?

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About the Author

Dana Van Nest

Dana Van Nest

Marketing Director

Dana is Collins’ go-to person for connecting with potential clients, overseeing all our communications strategies, and maintaining strong relationships with professional associations and industry colleagues.

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2 Responses

  1. Sonya Campion says:

    Dana, I think this is a great idea and first step towards thoughtful philanthropy. $2500 is a lot of money and could make a significant impact in the community. The WA Women’s Foundation encourages their members to give more to fewer groups in order to make an impact. I would encourage you to add a column in your chart on your key values, what you REALLY care about, and then list your donations underneath each value. You might be surprised at how your philanthropy lines up with your values.
    Thank you for encouraging thoughtful philanthropy.

  2. Dana Van Nest says:

    Thanks for the feedback, Sonya! I hope this helps emerging philanthropists organize their thoughts, values, and dollars!

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