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High Impact Strategic Giving


What is your usual approach to charitable giving?


What about if you had a million dollars to give away? Would you donate haphazardly, or would you dedicate time to think carefully and develop a plan?

If you would strategically give away a hypothetical amount that is probably higher than your current giving, why don’t you plan your actual giving?

It seems few people have any form of strategy in their giving. 

Most people take a “shotgun approach” to making charitable donations. 

Making the shift towards strategy

Here are three questions to help you get more focused in your charity:

1. How much do you want to give away?

When considering your giving plan for the year, it’s natural to begin by brainstorming organizations or causes to support. But a successful strategic giving plan often starts with a number in mind. Try first asking, How much do we want to give way this year? 

Defining how much “giving ammunition” you have for the year will help you stay out of reactive mode.

Many people like the guideline of giving 10% of income — and this can help you start with a round number. I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s regretted donating at this level (unfortunately, 2% is the national average). But if you have the means to give even more generously, don’t let the 10% “tithe” limit you. If you set big goals in any area of your life, why not set a big giving goal?

2. Where would you like to make an impact?

After you’ve established the total amount you’d like to give away this year, create a “spending” plan. In the same way that you and your family would set a monthly budget (a portion for groceries, a portion for utilities, etc.), split your total among the different types of causes that are close to your hearts.

To get started, consider this formula:
  • 50% passion giving:  What cause do you feel particularly called to?
  • 30% community giving: What aspects of your community are you committed to?
  • 20% spontaneous giving: This part of your plan is designed for needs that arise after you’ve made your plan. Say your church decides to plan a mission trip six months into the year and asks for your support.

3. How will you know if your giving is effective?

Regular giving reviews ensure intentionality throughout the year. These conversations are a chance to check in on your strategy and confirm that you are giving generously and according to plan. Get them on the calendar now, before life gets busy. You might ask your financial advisor to hold you accountable for keeping your reviews a priority.

Reviews should certainly include both you and your spouse, but prayerfully consider who else should be invited. Older children can learn a lot from these conversations, both about the value of money and the importance of being generous with what we have. Grandparents, consider inviting your children and grandchildren to establish a family tradition of generosity.

At each meeting, look at past giving, as well as what future giving you want to do.


Ready to move towards giving strategically? Your giving pie may be sliced differently based on the amount you have to give, but asking these questions will help you become more intentional in the way that you do your giving.

If you are interested in working with a professional advisor, we would love to come alongside you  to build a plan for your generosity.