Giving Should Be Fun
One of our websites, www.journeybeyond self.com: has a lot of useful and practical information about charitable giving. But this morning as I was thinking about giving, the thought occurred to me that in addition to all the great beneficial aspects of giving, giving in and of itself can be fun.
I don’t think I need to point out all the benefits in this article. However, suffice it to say the fact that there are income and estate tax benefits to giving (to qualified charities) speaks to the fact that lawmakers wanted to provide an incentive due to its benefit to society. There are other financial and emotional benefits that I can elaborate on in subsequent articles or that can be found on our website.
But, for the fun part, let me start with a couple of personal experiences. At one time I attended Citadel. It was a tradition for freshmen (back then we were known as “Knobs”) to distribute Christmas gifts to kids at a local orphanage. I had been given the name of a young girl. So, we loaded up on buses and personally delivered the gifts. I still remember the joy in the little girls’ eyes as I gave her gift. Even though this was a long time ago (I was 18 at the time) it left a lasting impression.
Although it is not my intention to promote a particular charity, I will mention that I sponsor a 9-year-old disadvantaged girl in Peru through an organization called Compassion International. She and I exchange letters and one day I would like to visit her. Being a part of her life is a real joy.
I didn’t know it when she joined our group, but Cara Wilson, is sponsoring two children through Compassion International as well.
The point here is that giving doesn’t have to be a sterile, distant experience. It can actually be fun, in fact, a joyful experience. For instance, you could make it a family affair. In the process, you would be teaching younger generations how philanthropy fits into family values and overall financial planning.
According to a 2018 study done by Fidelity Charitable, giving as a family helps children grow up to be happier adults with closer family ties. You could make it a family tradition and consider interests that your family is passionate about such as arts, sports, education, environment, etc. Charitable giving involves planning. Doing this as a family gets children involved in researching, saving, and spending, all of which are important life skills. For more information see ‘engaging family in giving’ and ‘ideals for children’ on our website.
Another ideal is to form a group or join a group of friends or co-workers that share a similar passion. Perhaps by pooling resources you would be able to have more of an impact.
The joy of giving doesn’t even have to involve dollars or investments. You could pitch in and join a group of volunteers. You just might develop new friendships as well as enjoying the events themselves.
Keep in mind that you can also give with non-cash assets. Donating stock, real estate, and other personal property can make a powerful impact as well as yielding tax benefits.
Think of your unique gifts or talents. Perhaps you could be a mentor to someone. For instance, one of my clients who was skilled in math and physics was a mentor to students.
You can explore other ideals on how to benefit others while, at the same time, receiving personal joy and satisfaction. The bottom line is that giving can be fun. If in fact, often times, it is the giver that receives the most joy. But don’t take my word for it—try it for yourself.