Advertising
Advertising

8 Secrets of Savvy Donors

8 Secrets of Savvy Donors

You’re generous and kind. You care about other people and want to help them have great lives. You want to make a positive impact on the world and give from your heart to worthy causes. You’re a great person!

Yet there’s a niggling feeling of doubt at the back of your head when you donate. How do you know that you’re giving to the right causes? How do you know that you’re giving the right amount and at the right time? How do you know that your generous gifts of time and money actually have the kind of impact you want on the world? Truly savvy donors don’t have that doubt. They are confident that they give to the right causes, the right amount, and that they are getting what they paid for with their generosity and kindness. They are super-donors!

What are their secrets? They still listen to their heart – that’s why they want to give in the first place – but they combine the heart and the head to give effectively. You can be a savvy super-donor too, and be truly confident that you’re making the best decisions with your giving by learning their secrets.

1. Be Intentional

Advertising

Stocksy_txp722be23cwnW000_Small_386913-800x400

    Knowledge is power! Super-donors are intentional about figuring out their aims and strategies for giving. They take the time to sit down and decide what goals they want to achieve through their generosity. They think about the kind of impact they want to have in the world. They decide what causes are most important to them – poverty, disease, animal welfare – and rank them by order of importance. Now, this ranking can  be quite difficult to achieve, and there’s no right answer. Listen to your heart and see what feels right to you. For some help, you can turn to Giving What We Can, which helps provide guidance on one’s giving. Follow this strategy, and you’ll know that you are giving to the causes that are right for you!

    2. Listen To Yourself

    1000x100012

      Another secret tactic that super-donors use to give to the right causes is to make sure to listen to themselves above everyone else. They know that they themselves should determine their giving decisions. While they don’t let anyone dictate to them what to do, they listen to and consider the opinions of others, and shift their mental maps of reality based on new information they did not know before. Indeed, super-donors are masters at changing their minds with appropriate evidence. However, the key is that they do so for their own reasons, not to please others.

      3. Budget Well

      Advertising

      maxresdefault

        There are so many great causes out there that you can’t reasonably contribute to all of them. Super-donors prevent that problem by preparing a giving budget! They decide in advance how much resources they want to spend, of both time and money. They distribute their resources to the causes they outlined above by order of importance to themselves. If you do so yourself, you’ll be confident that you are giving the right amount!

        4. Plan Ahead

        ar122426725778433

          Super-donors plan their giving in advance. They know that most people tend to give during the winter holidays, but charities need money throughout the year. So they time their giving to counter the “holiday effect.” They also know that charities most benefit from monthly donors who automate monthly donations from their bank accounts or credit cards. Monthly donors enable charities to plan ahead themselves and make the most effective use of each dollar. Another benefit of monthly donations is that the super-donors get to feel positive emotions every month when they get a warm thank-you note from the non-profit. Since both giving and experiencing gratitude are science-based strategies for improving happiness, super-donors are happier! By using this strategy, you can ensure that you are giving at the right time, for your own happiness and satisfaction, and for the charities to which you give.

          5. Be Flexible

          Advertising

          366544059_617bb0b542_o

            Super-donors are flexible about their giving. They know that their resources change over time in unexpected ways. For example, they might get an unexpected bonus, and decide they have more to give each month. However, they might be laid off and then have less money to give, but more time. They revise their giving budget and plan to make sure it aligns with their resources and priorities. You can commit to giving something every month but allow yourself to change this plan as your circumstances change. Doing so will enable you to make sure you keep giving the right amount and at the right time, no matter what happens.

            6. Be Smart

            woman-working-on-laptop-talking-cellphone

              You’re a smart shopper. You don’t buy the first thing you see on television or in the store window. You take the time to gain confidence that you’ll get what you want, for example by reading reviews from well-known websites. Similarly, super-donors don’t give to the first charity that puts a commercial on television, or has volunteers going door-to-door or standing in the street and asking for money. In fact, super-donors know that the charity that spends its money on commercials and volunteer time on gathering donations is not using those resources to make an impact in the world. Super-donors read reviews of charities by reputable charity evaluators. For example, GiveWell provides extensive research and makes recommendations for the kind of charities that make the most powerful and positive impact on the world in various cause areas. The Life You Can Save provides not only recommendations, but also an Impact Calculator that can help you see right away what kind of impact your giving can make! Using such tactics will help you make sure that you make the impact you want on the world with your generosity and kindness.

              7. Be Effective

              Advertising

              tersterka_21

                You can also gain confidence about your shopping decisions by talking to other smart shoppers. Those shoppers are generally glad to give you advice – they feel good helping you make wise shopping decisions and get to share their knowledge! Similarly, you can talk to super-donors to ensure that your generous donations are going to the best place. More broadly, they can share lots of strategies for being a super-donor. To talk to super-donors, in-person or online, simply out the phrase “Effective Altruism” into a search engine. Effective Altruists practice the strategies described above, and have many in-person and virtual forums where they discuss effective giving. They form community groups centered around being a super-donor and would be happy to share about their strategies for being super-donors with you!

                8. Be Proud

                111

                  Super-donors are not only committed to giving intentionally, but also proud of doing so! They spread this message of the benefits of being a super-donor to others they know. They know that doing so helps other people have better lives by getting rid of that niggling doubt at the back of their heads, and also channels their giving in the most effective fashion. Following this strategy, for example by wearing t-shirts such as the one above, starting conversations with friends and family, as well as sharing this article with others, can help you multiply the kind of positive impact you have on the world!

                  Featured photo credit: Businesswoman via flickr.com

                  More by this author

                  Dr. Gleb Tsipursky

                  President and Co-Founder at Intentional Insights; Disaster Avoidance Consultant

                  How To Protect Women’s Freedom How To Pick The Most Cost-Effective Charities For Your Donations On Giving Tuesday Hilarious Video On Dealing With Irrationality In Politics To Pin or Not to Pin? 4 Questions to Ask Before Wearing a Safety Pin How To Be A Truly Good Person

                  Trending in Featured

                  1 Why Do I Have Bad Luck? 2 Simple Things to Change Your Destiny 2 The Gentle Art of Saying No 3 How to Motivate Yourself: 13 Simple Ways You Can Try Right Now 4 15 Ways to Cultivate Lifelong Learning for a Sharper Brain 5 How to Overcome Procrastination and Start Doing What Truly Matters

                  Read Next

                  Advertising
                  Advertising

                  Last Updated on November 28, 2018

                  Why Do I Have Bad Luck? 2 Simple Things to Change Your Destiny

                  Why Do I Have Bad Luck? 2 Simple Things to Change Your Destiny

                  Are you one of those people who are always suffering setbacks? Does little ever seem to go right for you? Do you sometimes feel that the universe is out to get you? Do you wonder:

                  Why do I have bad luck? Is bad luck real?

                  A couple of months ago, I met up with an old friend of mine who I hadn’t seen since last year. Over lunch, we talked about all kinds of things, including our careers, relationships and hobbies.

                  My friend told me his job had become dull and uninteresting to him, and despite applying for promotion – he’d been turned down. His personal life wasn’t great either, as he told me that he’d recently separated from his long-term girlfriend.

                  When I asked him why things had seemingly gone wrong at home and work, he paused for a moment, and then replied:

                  “I’m having a run of bad luck.”

                  I was surprised by his response as I’d never thought of him as someone who thought that luck controlled his life. He always appeared to be someone who knew what he wanted – and went after it with gusto.

                  He told me he did believe in bad luck because of everything happened to me.

                  Advertising

                  It was at this point, that I shared my opinion on luck and destiny:

                  While chance events certainly occur, they are purely random in nature. In other words, good luck and bad luck don’t exist in the way that people believe. And more importantly, even if random negative events do come along, our perspective and reaction can turn them into positive things.

                  Your luck is no worse—and no better—than anyone else’s. It just feels that way. Better still, there are two simple things you can do which will reverse your feelings of being unlucky and change your luck.

                  1. Stop believing that what happens in life is out of your control.

                  Stop believing that what happens in your life is down to the vagaries of luck, destiny, supernatural forces, malevolent other people, or anything else outside yourself.

                  Psychologists call this “external locus of control.” It’s a kind of fatalism, where people believe that they can do little or nothing personally to change their lives.

                  Because of this, they either merely hope for the best, focus on trying to change their luck by various kinds of superstition, or submit passively to whatever comes—while complaining that it doesn’t match their hopes.

                  Most successful people take the opposite view. They have “internal locus of control.” They believe that what happens in their life is nearly all down to them; and that even when chance events occur, what is important is not the event itself, but how you respond to it.

                  This makes them pro-active, engaged, ready to try new things, and keen to find the means to change whatever in their lives they don’t like.

                  Advertising

                  They aren’t fatalistic and they don’t blame bad luck for what isn’t right in their world. They look for a way to make things better.

                  Are they luckier than the others? Of course not.

                  Luck is random—that’s what chance means—so they are just as likely to suffer setbacks as anyone else.

                  What’s different is their response. When things go wrong, they quickly look for ways to put them right. They don’t whine, pity themselves, or complain about “bad luck.” They try to learn from what happened to avoid or correct it next time and get on with living their life as best they can. They have this Motivation Engine, which most people lack, to keep them going.

                  No one is habitually luckier or unluckier than anyone else. It may seem so, over the short term (Random events often come in groups, just as random numbers often lie close together for several instances—which is why gamblers tend to see patterns where none exist).

                  When you take a longer perspective, random chance is just . . . random. Yet those who feel that they are less lucky, typically pay far more attention to short-term instances of bad luck, convincing themselves of the correctness of their belief.

                  Your locus of control isn’t genetic. You learned it somehow. If it isn’t working for you, change it.

                  2. Remember that whatever you pay attention to grows in your mind.

                  If you focus on what’s going wrong in your life—especially if you see it as “bad luck” you can do nothing about—it will seem blacker and more malevolent.

                  Advertising

                  In a short time, you’ll become so convinced that everything is against you that you’ll notice more and more instances where this appears to be true. As a result, you will drown yourself in negative energy and almost certainly stop trying, convinced that nothing you can do will improve your prospects.

                  Not long ago, a reader (I’ll call her Kelly) has shared with me about how frustrated she felt and how unlucky she was. Kelly’s an aspiring entrepreneur. She had been trying to find investors to invest in her project. It hadn’t been going well as she was always rejected by the potential investors. And at her most stressful time, her boyfriend broke up with her. And the day after her breakup, she missed an important opportunity to meet an interested investor. She was about to give up because she felt that she’d not be lucky enough to build her business successfully.

                  It definitely wasn’t an easy time for her. She was stressful and tired. But it wasn’t bad luck that was playing the role.

                  Fatalism feeds on itself until people become passive “victims” of life’s blows. The “losers” in life are those who are convinced they will fail before they start anything; sure that their “bad luck” will ruin any prospects of success.

                  They rarely notice that the true reasons for their failure are ignorance, laziness, lack of skill, lack of forethought, or just plain foolishness—all of which they could do something to correct, if only they would stop blaming other people or “bad luck” for their personal deficiencies.

                  Your attention is under your control. Send it where you want it to go. Starve the negative thoughts until they die.

                  I explained to Kelly that to improve her fortune and have “good luck”, first decide that what happens is nearly always down to her; then try to focus on what works and what turns out well, not the bad stuff.

                  Then Kelly tried to review her current situation objectively. She realized that she only needed a short break for herself — from work and her just broken-up relationship. She really needed some time to clear up her mind before moving on with her work and life. When she got her emotions settled down from her heartbreak, she started to work on improving her business’ selling points and looked for new investors that are more suitable.

                  Advertising

                  A few months later, she told me that she finally found two investors who were really interested in her project and would like to work with her to grow the business. I was really glad that she could take back control of her destiny and achieved what she wanted.

                  Your “fate” really does depend on the choices that you make. When random events happen, as they always will, do you choose to try to turn them to your advantage or just complain about them?

                  What’s Next?

                  Now that you’ve learned the 2 simple things you can do to take control of your fate and create your own luck. But this isn’t it! These simple techniques you’ve learned here are just part of the essential 7 Cornerstone Skills — a skillset that will give you the power to create permanent solutions to big problems in life — any problem in any area of your life!

                  If you think you’re “suffering from bad luck”, you can really change things up and start life over with these 7 Cornerstone Skills. It may even be a lot easier than you thought:

                  How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

                  Thomas Jefferson is said to have used these words:

                  “I’m a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”

                  Your luck, in the end, is pretty much what you choose it to be.

                  More Ideas About Creating Your Own Luck

                  Books About Taking Control of Your Life

                  Featured photo credit: LoboStudio Hamburg via unsplash.com

                  Read Next