Generosity Series: Part 3 – When to Give Money

Generous people establish a plan for their giving.  When you choose to be a generous person it will cause you to see needs all around you, all the time.  You do need to keep control over your budget while being generous.  You should give money when it fits into your plan.  If giving tends to not fit into your plan, you may need a new plan.  This is normal because once you begin giving regularly you will likely want to give more money to more people and organizations.  I recommend not giving on a whim, however.  When you identify a giving opportunity you should consider it and make an informed decision about that giving.  You may also want to consider having a budgeted amount for spontaneous giving per month or even a separate fund that you set aside for ad-hoc giving.  Set a cap on that type of giving though, it can become a lot over time so stay mindful of it.  Once you are financially independent you can also absorb incremental giving into your finances.  Before you are at that level though, be sure that giving doesn’t mess up your budget and household.  You are not going to do anyone good if you are broke and can’t pay your own bills due to giving.  Poor people can’t build schools, churches, or hospitals.

If you are married, I recommend you consult your spouse before giving.  This would be part of your budget together.  It will likely be not just about a total amount of giving but instead include a detailed discussion of who you are giving the budgeted amount to exactly.  This would be you both coming to agreement on any organization and/or individual to whom you choose to give.

When you give will depend on the organization or the person the gift benefits.  Most generous people tend to seek regular giving with specific, recurring gifts.  This allows for a more focused and higher impact level of giving over your lifetime.  It also shows your continued support for a given cause, organization, or individual.  Then you will sprinkle in a certain amount of one-off, needs-based giving.  This could be helping a friend when their car needs a repair or when they’re between jobs.  You will give when the needs arise.  No matter the timing, ensure the giving is in your budget or ensure you have a separate giving fund for ad-hoc giving.

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