You should become an outrageous giver. An outrageous giver is someone who gives beyond expectations. If you are going to give more than others expect, you should also raise your own personal expectations. Lift your expectations about how much you are going to give both now and into the future. Set your goal to become an outrageous giver.
There are many reasons why you should give money away. The first is that you will make a difference. Giving money away allows you to contribute to the lives of others in a special way. This might be other people, or other organizations. Often you are able to make your money work in a way that is bigger than yourself; to multiply the effort of your money.
Secondly, giving is fun. It is fun to hand money to someone or some organization and to see the joy that you are giving. It is fun to see the smile on faces, or to hear stories of what your money is allowing others to do and achieve. It is satisfying to be making a difference in people’s lives.
Thirdly giving helps you to be more thankful. As you give money away you are doing so in recognition that you have received good things. You can be thankful for those good things by giving them away. Being thankful is an important step in being happy in life.
Giving also helps you to create an abundance mentality. The act of giving is an acknowledgment that you are ok without the money. If you are giving abundantly, that means that you are confident that you have enough money without it. You are portraying the mindset that money is in abundance. Note that this happens even if you don’t have a lot of money. The act of giving sets your mind to believing that you do; that money is abundant. And if you believe money is abundant you will more likely act in ways that create that abundance.
There is a clear connection that occurs between giving in receiving. The people that give money away tend to receive more back. I don’t think there is some magic reason for this happening, but I do think it works in our psychology. The combination of an abundance mentality and thankfulness puts you in a better attitude and state to attract money and opportunity to yourself.
HOW TO GIVE?
Get started - No matter whether you earn a lot of money, or very little, you should start giving now. Some people decide to wait until they are making a certain amount of money, or reach a certain age. Almost every time they express regret that they didn’t start giving early. You can make a difference by starting to give money away now. Even students living on very limited incomes benefit by giving money away.
Pick an amount - You should pick an amount that you want to give away. You may want to do this on a weekly basis, or monthly basis. You may choose an annual goal, but if you do be sure to break it down into monthly targets. It is often easiest to start with a percentage of your income. A good place to start is by giving 10% of your income. For some, this may seem like a lot, and yet if you set it up as an automatic gift each month you will hardly notice it. And yet, it will be able to make a significant difference in the lives of others.
Set goals to increase the amount – Once you have chosen how much you will give away to start with, set goals to increase that over time. You may be giving away 10% now, but you may have a goal to increase to 20%, 30% or even more over time. This increase may take many years to meet, but it can be an important motivator as you work towards bigger life goals.
Be anonymous – In your giving there are really two types of anonymity and both are valuable. One type is where no one knows who it was that gave the money. There is no record of the person giving the money. The only person that knows is you. The other type of anonymity is where you know and it is registered that you gave the money, however it is not made public. The benefit of this is that you receive a tax receipt. For example when I give to my church, they gift is recorded and a tax receipt is issued. Only a couple of people involved in the accounting process know about my gift. It is never announced or acknowledged otherwise. The government offers tax deductions for charitable donations because it is a practice that they want to encourage, and it is good stewardship to take advantage of those tax breaks. If you want, you can turn around and give your tax return away also!
More than money – you don’t need to give just money. You can give away possessions. This might be giving away used clothes to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. It might mean donating something around the house that you don’t use anymore. Someone I know recently donated a drum set that their kids didn’t use any more to a church. You can also donate your time by volunteering. Look for places to contribute with an investment of your time. This can often be extra rewarding as you are connected directly to the work that is taking place.
WHERE TO GIVE?
Support a meaningful cause – you may have a cause that is meaningful to you and that would be a great place to start with giving. Perhaps you lost a family member to diabetes and so supporting diabetes research would be a great place to start. Look for ways to give to that cause. Be sure to find something that is meaningful or passionate.
Support your local church, synagogue or worship community – if you attend a church, synagogue or similar community you should be involved in supporting it. Not only does it support the ongoing functions of the group itself, but faith organizations often provide an opportunity to pool funds and use them to accomplish things that individual donors would not have been able to do.
Support a microcredit entrepreneur – Microcredit is the issuing of small loans to people in poverty. They then use those loans to create businesses called income generating activities. It may mean purchasing a cow, or buying a sewing machine. This kind of entrepreneurship can play an important roll in poverty alleviation. While this is often done by large organizations, you can contribute as well. Kiva.org partners individual lenders with entrepreneurs in developing countries. You loan a small amount to them, and it is repaid back over the next year. You are then able to take the same money and loan it to another person.
Sponsor a child – There are many organizations that allow you to sponsor a child in a developing country. This can be a very rewarding form of giving. Your funds go to help pay for food, clothing and education for that child. You are able to send and receive letters from your sponsor child providing a hands-on connection to your giving.
Random acts – Look for opportunities to give as part of a random act. This might be giving a gift card for groceries to a neighbor who lost her job or box of diapers to new parents in your community. It might be buying flowers for someone or just giving money when needed. There are lots of opportunities to give as part of a random act.
You now know the why, the how and the where of giving. The next step is up to you. Just get started and you can become and abundant giver.