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Guidelines for Giving

How Much To Give

According to Independent Sector's recent study, Giving and Volunteering in the United States, 89% of American households give to charity. The average gift is about 3.2% of income (before taxes), which is an increase from previous years but still well below the 10% tithing recommended by religious institutions. The average household donates $1,620 each year, a little more than four dollars a day.

Based on a survey of more than 4,000 adults, this series of reports explored “the why, how, and who behind the extraordinary everyday generosity - both in time and money - of American households.” It revealed that the people who give the most actually make the least. Households earning under $10,000 a year -- far below the poverty line -- gave 5.2% of their income to charity.

While 3.2% is the average, there is a movement to give more. Independent Sector encourages donors to "Give 5" - donate 5% of personal income to charitable organizations.

Making a Long-Term Commitment

Charitynavigator.org recommends thinking of philanthropic activity as a long-term commitment, more akin to marriage than dating. Intelligent giving is motivated by altruism, knowledge, and perspective. Whereas diversification is the key to reducing risk when it comes to financial investments, the opposite is true for philanthropic investments. If you have taken the time to identify a well-run nonprofit that is engaged in a cause that you are passionate about, you should then feel confident in giving it your financial support.

When you contribute long-term, your support is there through good times and bad. In this way, genuine sustainable development takes place. You become an investor in the health and welfare of the organization you are supporting

Every Dollar Counts

Nonprofit organizations depend on the support of a wide variety of people to conduct their charitable activities.

Budget For Giving

Plan your philanthropic activities right into your budget just as you would other financial obligations.

Be A Proactive Giver

You do not have to wait to be asked. Plan a giving strategy in advance.

Consider Alternative Forms Of Giving

Do not overlook the benefits to you and your cause received from bequests, charitable gift annuities, gifts in kind, endowments and many other creative forms of giving.

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“The most satisfying thing in life is to have been able to give a large part of one's self to others.”

- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin