The holidays are a perfect time for me to not only be thankful, but also to support others. So many have poured into me over the years, that it only feels right for me to give back and help others, especially those I can directly relate to. Since I became financially free but do freelance work to help spread the good news about financial freedom, I’m still able to be generous with giving.
My charitable giving plan is a three-part plan: community organizations, giving circles, and support of friends and family.
Investing in Community Organizations
When I was a sophomore in high school, I was fortunate enough to participate in a historically black college tour over spring break. The tour traveled to several states in the south and single handedly changed the trajectory of my life. I was exposed to a number of college campuses, students and professors that showed me what could be possible. That college tour was organized by a local nonprofit organization that was funded by donations. Because of my experience benefiting from so many community organizations, including religious organizations, I have become passionate about helping those in need through such organizations.
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Giving circles are organized around an impact mission and are often housed in a community foundation. Giving circles allow a group or an individual to come together, pool their funds, and decide how they would like to distribute funds to those in need.
The Community Foundation of Tennessee manages many different giving circles and donor managed funds, including those left in memory of a loved one. I especially love giving to those because they help honor the memory and wishes of those who have passed on.
Supporting the Endeavors of Family and Friends
Charitable giving usually starts right in my neighborhood. For instance, my son is in the band at his public school. Because of donations and fundraisers, each student in the band has his or her own instrument, and some have an instrument to keep at home for practice. There are also fundraisers for several food banks near our home. They are typically in need of everything from grocery items to diapers.
My family and friends are another target area for charitable giving. When a family member needs funding for home or auto repairs, family and friends are typically the first to step in to help. It feels good to help family when they are in need as part of my charitable giving strategy.
Not all Charitable Giving has to be Financial
This time of year can be hard on families for a variety of reasons. I try to give my time along with food and monetary gifts. Many are food insecure because of lost wages or illness. COVID-19 is still affecting people in various ways. We typically donate gently used clothes throughout the year, but especially gloves and hats to families in need during the holiday season.
One of my favorite things that I used to do during the holidays (pre-COVID-19) was volunteer with Meals On Wheels and other organizations that serve seniors. You would be surprised how a warm smile and good conversation can be a great gift and do your soul good!
The Bottom Line
Budgeting my spending is something I still do, even though I am not working full time. I must still track my expenses in order to plan for charitable giving. Personal Capital’s free financial tools have helped me work charitable giving into my financial plan.
The free tools also helped me reach my goal of $750,000 net worth in four years. It’s easy to get started with the free tools. Just securely link your financial accounts, see your complete net worth, and then start using the tools to reach your own financial goals.
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