The last several months hold some of the most anticipated times of the year. It’s the time we enjoy cider, donuts and wagon rides at the apple orchard; It’s kick-off time for college and professional football; And it’s a time to get lost in a corn maze or spooked at a “haunted house”; Or eating turkey, stuffing and gravy with family time at Thanksgiving; Or anticipating the joy and gift of Christmas and all of the specialness the Season brings.
The year-end also brings with it the opportunity to finish the year strong by impacting others. It provides us with the time that we can encourage and inspire those in need through our charitable giving.
Typically, a significant percentage of all charitable contributions are made during the last few months of the year. If 2016 giving in the U.S. exceeds the $373 billion given in 2015, there will be a lot of funds transferred to charitable organizations during the next few months.
With federal income tax rates ranging from 10% to 39.6% and capital gains tax rates ranging from 15% to 20%, many donors itemizing their tax returns will appreciate the deductions their charitable gifts generate.
However, tax benefits are not the only advantage to year-end giving. The greatest benefit may be the encouragement and inspiration you can bring to those at this time of year.
One year, several of my friends discovered that a local human service organization was going through tough budget times. The organization was not going to be able to provide pay raises or offer modest Christmas bonuses which they typically provided their employees at year-end.
My friends approached the executive director of the organization and asked if they could do something special for the employees by hosting and paying for a staff Christmas dinner and provide funds that the executive director could present each employee with a modest year-end gift. The executive director loved the idea and the event was held.
All of the employees were greatly encouraged and felt most appreciated by the generosity of those several friends who pooled their resources together and provided a little something extra for the hard-working staff of the organization. Needless to say the following year proved to be exceptional for the organization due, in part, to the inspired and uplifted staff.
So what is an approach to inspiring others this year-end?
First, make a list of the charitable causes and organizations near and dear to your heart.
Then, do a little research and discover those extraordinary needs each may have from their “menu of giving opportunities.” This menu is generally those areas of need that an organization has that is above and beyond their general operating budget.
Once you have identified an opportunity that interests you, learn more about that particular need and the impact your gift can have on the organization and its service to others.
Finally, make your contribution, inspire the organization and its staff, volunteers and clientele and help them finish the year strong.
And through your intentional generosity, you, too will finish the year in a most positive manner!
For more thoughts on generosity pick up a copy of the enjoyable book, “An Unexpected Legacy: Strategies of Generosity.” Click here to place your order.