If you give to any favorite charities, you must wonder by year end whether every dollar you give only buys more paper, ink, and postage for more solicitations. I think it is safe to say that the cards and letters are effective. If they were not, they would not send them.

The truth is, in order to keep ourselves from being bound up by materialism, we personally need to give of our resources even more than others need the help! There always will be needs though. Part of the genius of our capitalistic economy and relative freedoms is that we can choose whether, to whom and how much we give.

Even our governments recognize the importance of giving by not taxing bona fide charitable organizations and by allowing us to count our donations as a deduction if we give enough as a percentage of our income (often in conjunction with other allowable items). Of course, we also give millions of dollars in the value of our time.

One very positive statistic I read at https://nonprofitssource.com/online-giving-statistics/ said that 84 percent of millennials give to charity. A large percentage give regularly online to their favorite causes. Even though their average amount given is naturally less, there are millions and millions of them! Those in the greatest generation give much more, but they now constitute less than 12 percent of our population.

Another statistic that caught my eye is that 10 percent of our giving occurs in the last three days of the year. How is that for procrastination?

I would like to suggest a few ideas that may make your giving in 2023 more effective than ever. First, while the popularity of Giving Tuesday has grown markedly, why should we wait until November when the needs are unrelenting?

Second, find out whether your intended recipients are worthy of your giving. This is quite easy by consulting www.charitynavigator.org. You can learn how much of the organization’s budget is used for fundraising or administration rather than for the programs you desire to help.

Third, we usually think only of the cash in our checking accounts when it is much more tax efficient to give assets such as stocks or mutual funds in which we have long term capital gains. A subset of this idea is the Qualified Charitable Donation (QCD) from IRA accounts by which you can give directly to your charities and avoid counting the withdrawals as income. We qualify to use this method anytime during or after the year in which we hit age 70 ½.

If you want to give more, but are concerned that you may need more of your resources in elder years, investigate Charitable Gift Annuities and Charitable Remainder Trusts. These will provide you an income stream while you are living, but provide current tax benefits because of the value of the future benefit for public good after you are gone.

Related to these and other matters such as the whys and wherefores of giving, we are sponsoring a four week series of presentations by author, Randy Alcorn, entitled The Treasure Principle beginning tomorrow evening, Thursday, January 26, at 7 p.m. For more information and to request a free copy of his book, check out our website www.stewcap.com

In our view of the world, living is giving!


(Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The advice is general in nature and not intended for specific situations)