‘Tis the season, or so the saying goes. But the season for what? Duh, it’s the season of consumerism….. I mean the season for giving. It’s the time of year when we shop to give gifts to our family, friends, coworkers, teachers, coaches, neighbors, mail carriers, garbage haulers, pizza delivery guys, and anyone else we can possibly think of. And while we are shopping, there are the other organizations that are asking us to give to them, whether it is for a special project or for one last push to make their annual budget. After all, giving is a great way to get a tax break, right? No cash? That’s ok; they’ll take stock transfers, old vehicles, and even donated real estate if you’d rather. Man, that’s a lot of giving that is expected of us this time of year.
Please don’t take me for a Scrooge. I’m really not. After all, one of my recent blog posts was all about still being able to give even if you don’t have the cash. I mean, I get it. It’s the season of giving. It makes us feel good ourselves to be able to help others out. We want to spread the Christmas cheer and bless others as we have been so blessed ourselves.
That’s why I’m going to encourage you to start planning now for your holiday giving…… in 2017. Use the 2016 holiday season as a springboard for your 2017 holiday giving. Here’s how:
Momentum – Use the feelings and emotions that you have now to get the ball rolling, so to speak. While it is at least towards the top of your mind, run with it and set your goals now. As good as you feel about the little gifts now, think about how good you will feel (and more importantly how the recipients will feel) when you can give next year. Feel that Christmas cheer spreading through you? That’s more than just the effects of the egg nog. Go with it.
Targets – You will be better motivated if you have some sort of investment or value in the recipient of your giving. Start picking your recipients now so that the value you see in them can help you stay the course throughout the year. Keep a list of those you plan to give to. If something comes up, you can update your recipients list throughout the year if there is an organization you want to add (or remove if someone’s been naughty).
Amount – Dollars and cents here, folks. How much do you want to give? How would you feel dropping $350 in one of those red kettles? Maybe drop $350 worth of toys off to some Marines? Or just leave a $350 check in the offering plate? Why $350? That sounds like a lot, but if you start now, it’s less than $1 a day. ONE DOLLAR. One fast-food meal per week. One tank of gas in your car per month. Break it down and make it easy by setting your goal now. Or you can come up with the entire $350 next December when you are trying to do your Christmas shopping too.
Continuity – Who says you can only give during the holidays? Need a little feel good pick-me-up reminder of why you do this? Stay connected with your recipient organizations by giving multiple times over the year. I have yet to find one that wouldn’t take your money if you’re offering. Break it down and now you only need to come up with $100 before you give, but you do it four times a year. Remember ‘Christmas in July’? You can really make it Christmas in July for any organization you choose to give to.
While there is Christmas magic beyond our understanding involved in Santa’s work, our giving doesn’t have to be rocket science or the dumb luck of giving whatever we have left over at the end. A little planning now and we can really make a difference in our community.
If you aren’t even in any trouble but would just like some help in putting a budget together towards accomplishing whatever you want to be able to do, the counselors at the Center for Financial Resources are happy to help. You can schedule an appointment online or call 605-330-2700. You come with your goals in mind and they will help you find a way to achieve them.
And if you need some place to donate $350 but aren’t sure where, let me know. I’d be happy to donate your money for you!
written by Breck Miller
images courtesy freedigitalphotos.net