On Community: Intentional Giving
Setting intentions is something a lot of us do around this time of year. We plan to exercise more, eat better, be kinder. With so many parts of our lives claiming our attention, we can forget to reflect on our charitable giving and community involvement.
Supporting many different causes and organizations can be overwhelming. Giving to every cause and supporting every organization is not realistic, so it is important to periodically evaluate your commitments. Being strategic with your time and resources is not selfish; rather, it allows you to prioritize your favorite causes to truly want to make an impact.
With more than 200 nonprofits in Mesa County, you are likely part of at least one, if not several, of these organizations in some way. When was the last time you reflected on your involvement?
What activities do you and your family participate in on a regular basis that you are thankful for and enjoy, or that would be difficult to replace? It might be playing with your pets, hiking the valley’s trail systems, enjoying local cultural offerings, participating in after-school activities and clubs, or taking classes at your local library.
Make a list of the organizations that you are part of that support these activities. These can be organizations that you give to, volunteer with, sit on the board of, or even just participate in every now and then.
Of the organizations you listed, which have truly touched your life this past year, and how? By asking yourself these questions, you are doing two important things. First, you are evaluating the causes you are part of and how they impact your life. Second, you are outlining a mini mission statement for yourself and your family. Maybe these organizations’ missions and visions are a big part of what you and your family stand for. Or maybe they have helped loved ones, and that means a lot to you. These causes are important, and your level of involvement with them reflects their priority in your life.
3 STEPS TO INTENTIONAL GIVING
1. Answer these questions: Are you happy with the organizations you volunteer with or give to? Do you feel like your giving makes an impact? Do the organizations show you how you help them accomplish their mission? When was the last time you received a thank-you note from them?
2. Make a list. List each organization and evaluate them individually using the questions above. How do they make you feel? Be honest! It might be tough at first to really reflect on how you feel about working with certain organizations, but honesty is best. This list will help you identify what you want to change about your future philanthropy.
3. Prioritize. The fun part! Now is the time to prioritize where you want to spend your time and money in the coming year. This can mean taking a break from some organizations, or spending more time on others. Prioritizing will help you regain focus as to why you give back and get involved in the first place.
However and wherever you give, always remember this: You make a difference in your community. Evaluating your giving and setting intentions for your future philanthropy are ways to be more impactful, and to guarantee that you continue supporting causes you are passionate about.