[How much should I give to charity?]

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timmy
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[How much should I give to charity?]

Post by timmy » Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:54 pm

I am trying to make a decision about my own charitable giving. I am asking because I'd like your help deciding how much you should give.
  • What is your philosophy or decision making framework on who/what/how much/when?
  • Do you give more of your time or money? How much (hours per week or % of income) do you give?
  • So as not to stifle the conversation, please refrain from commenting negatively of what folks might be doing.
Thank you!

Might be useful ...

Donating ~5% right now. Budgeting to get that to 10% over the next 5 years (random time frame, yes).

Mid 40s.

Respectable income and net worth. We are at the point that giving more won't hurt lifestyle or retirement.

Thinking about how to donate time too ...

[title edited for clarity and several OT comments deleted by admin alex]
Last edited by timmy on Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:51 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Silk McCue
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Re: Generosity

Post by Silk McCue » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:01 pm

Timmy. On my iPad the 2nd colored font is almost unreadable. I would suggest you edit the post and remove all colored fonts as they make reading difficult. A sparing use of bold can be effective if you have a specific need to highlight a section of text.

For the past 30 years my wife and I have given to our church and other charities. Giving percentage has varied between 12 and 25 percent of our gross income annually. We’ve never missed the money and wouldn’t change a thing. We are a middle Income couple. We used to give a lot of time as well but there is less of that at the moment. I expect there will be more in the future. We all go through seasons.

Stonebr
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Re: Generosity

Post by Stonebr » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:22 pm

10+% of gross income to charity and about 6 hours a week volunteering is what I do. Don't know if that's generous or not. If a billionaire did that, I'd think he/she was a cheap SOB, but I'm not a billionaire.

I give to charities that address extreme poverty and life-saving health interventions, following guidelines of effective altruism and charities rated by Givewell.org
"have more than thou showest, | speak less than thou knowest" -- The Fool in King Lear

RudyS
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Re: Generosity

Post by RudyS » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:36 pm

Silk McCue wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:01 pm
Timmy. On my iPad the 2nd colored font is almost unreadable. I would suggest you edit the post and remove all colored fonts as they make reading difficult. A sparing use of bold can be effective if you have a specific need to highlight a section of text.

For the past 30 years my wife and I have given to our church and other charities. Giving percentage has varied between 12 and 25 percent of our gross income annually. We’ve never missed the money and wouldn’t change a thing. We are a middle Income couple. We used to give a lot of time as well but there is less of that at the moment. I expect there will be more in the future. We all go through seasons.
It's not just the iPad. Just as bad on my desktop monitor.

timmy
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Re: Generosity

Post by timmy » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:52 pm

Silk McCue wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:01 pm
Timmy. On my iPad the 2nd colored font is almost unreadable. I would suggest you edit the post and remove all colored fonts as they make reading difficult. A sparing use of bold can be effective if you have a specific need to highlight a section of text.
Fixed. Thanks for the heads up. :oops:

Traveller
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Re: Generosity

Post by Traveller » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:18 pm

We tithe 10% off the top to our church, plus we give another $20k or so in other specific charitable giving. I also serve on 2 non-profit boards which average about 20 hours a month of my time. Then there are a bunch of random donations of both time and money throughout the year.

Dottie57
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Re: Generosity

Post by Dottie57 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:32 pm

Am I generous ? Sometimes. I do have problems giving money away. So I choose do it in the same way I invest - automatic deductions from my paycheck. The charities are chosen once a year , so I Know I can be generous once a year.

I am generous in tipping.

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cheese_breath
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Re: Generosity

Post by cheese_breath » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:36 pm

There once was a charity called the Community Chest many decades ago. Apparently it morphed into today's United Way. Anyhow they used "Give untill it hurts" as their slogan. Once as they were collecting in our elementary school one of the teachers said "Don't give untill it hurts. Give untill it feels good." I've always remembered that as an excellent piece of advice.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

nguy44
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Re: Generosity

Post by nguy44 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:00 pm

IMHO do not focus so much on how you give, but what you can give cheerfully and without seeking any recognition/recompose, other than the joy of giving.

Last we gave about year 17% of our gross income to charities and gifts... gifts which we do not declare for income tax purposes as they are done "in secret". For example, slipping gift certificates to a local grocery store into the mailbox of a family in need.

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IGoCougsI
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Re: Generosity

Post by IGoCougsI » Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:15 am

timmy wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:54 pm
  • 1. [deleted]
  • 2. What is your philosophy or decision making framework on who/what/how much/when?
  • 3. Do you give more of your time or money? How much (hours per week or % of income) do you give?
  • 4. So as not to stifle the conversation, please refrain from commenting negatively of what folks might be doing.
1. I don't worry about generosity (amount of time or $), the term I would use (maybe of little difference) is service. I want my life and the lives of my children to be marked as servants to others.

2. How much: I give the greater of 1% of my net worth or 10% of my gross income. For me the last 6 or 7 years it has been 1% of net worth.
To whom: I've prioritized three main charities (church, university which provided me a full-ride, and a social service charity supporting childhood grief). Beyond those three I give maybe $5k sprinkled to 5 or 6 other charities each year.
When: I given whenever they ask and then annually at the specific times associated with each charity. I.e. church in the Fall, University in Jan/Feb, childhood grief in spring in support of their annual fundraising appeal.
What: I assume you mean what assets? I use a donor advised fund (DAF) and gift my appreciated mutual funds to the DAF as part of my annual portfolio re-balancing effort. I gift my winners to trim them and use cash to buy more of the loser funds.

3. I give both time, money, and expertise. I give about 10-15 hours a month of my time. I give 1% of my net worth per year. I give my expertise whenever asked and to whatever extent the charity requests.

timmy
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Re: Generosity

Post by timmy » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:30 am

nguy44 wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:00 pm
IMHO do not focus so much on how you give, but what you can give cheerfully and without seeking any recognition/recompose, other than the joy of giving.
I am trying to get there. With my time, I enjoy the giving/ helping process. I just need to be more intentional: aligned with my strengths, values, maybe something out of the box. For example, I have strong math and science skills, knowledge. And based on some recent experience, I'm a pretty good teacher. So I intend to see if there is something there.

When it comes to money, I'm so cheap. I don't want to be, but I have a small scrooge thing going on. My wife is a good counter force, so that's restored household balance. However, it keeps us from being more intentional/ effective. (That's why the idea, mentioned above, to automate the process is good one.) I've decided to treat it like diet and fitness. I performed a reboot a few years ago. It was a journey, but I created a true mind and body shift. Just the idea of exercising was exhausting. But I got on a program and stuck to it. Now I feel horrible when I don't exorcise. I'm hoping the act of doing (giving) month in, month out, no matter what, will create the same mind shift. I hope that makes sense.

timmy
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Re: Generosity

Post by timmy » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:33 am

Traveller wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:18 pm
We tithe 10% off the top to our church, plus we give another $20k or so in other specific charitable giving. I also serve on 2 non-profit boards which average about 20 hours a month of my time. Then there are a bunch of random donations of both time and money throughout the year.
I know that there are a few religions that tithe 10%. The folks that I know that do it do so in good spirit (don't view it as a tax).

mak1277
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Re: [How much should I give to charity?]

Post by mak1277 » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:39 am

Roughly 10% of gross income, although it varies year by year. Mainly to church but also to other charities that rotate year by year. Charity is the largest expense item we have.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: [How much should I give to charity?]

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:50 am

I research organizations that I am considering making a donation to. What does the head of the organization make? What percentage of donations go to support the final cause? What percentage of the organization is made up of volunteers?

Because of these, I will give to our local Salvation Army support center who directly helps people in a nearby small city, to our local animal shelter and to homeless aid organizations like Rosie's place. I will never give a cent to United Way because they are a marketing organization and give $0 directly to final causes. The massive CEO salary doesn't make me want to give to them either. I've given to all of the private scholarships who gave me money for school (and all are 100% volunteer run).
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Traveller
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Re: Generosity

Post by Traveller » Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:48 pm

timmy wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:33 am
Traveller wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:18 pm
We tithe 10% off the top to our church, plus we give another $20k or so in other specific charitable giving. I also serve on 2 non-profit boards which average about 20 hours a month of my time. Then there are a bunch of random donations of both time and money throughout the year.
I know that there are a few religions that tithe 10%. The folks that I know that do it do so in good spirit (don't view it as a tax).
I certainly don't view it as a "tax", but as a privilege and an opportunity to help others.

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randomizer
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Re: [How much should I give to charity?]

Post by randomizer » Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:50 pm

I give less than 1% of my income due to fear of being too far behind on my retirement goals.
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fourwheelcycle
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Re: [How much should I give to charity?]

Post by fourwheelcycle » Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:44 pm

When I was working my employer encouraged community service and I was able to devote significant time to charitable area agencies, including serving on the board and as chair for our local United Way. One earlier poster said UW does not give to final charities, but our UW gave 83% of all donated funds directly to independent charitable service agencies, including agencies that served young mothers, families in distress, homeless families and individuals, and low income seniors.

When I retired I increased my volunteer board service role, with a focus on agencies that serve seniors. We also give significant personal time and donations to our church.

Other than a sizable annual donation to our church and lesser donations to a few other local charities and to our colleges, in the past we have not given a large portion of our personal income to charities. However, we are now arriving at age 70 with more than sufficient savings for our retirement needs and our children's reasonable inheritance needs. Based on our fortunate circumstances, we are planning to give 50% of our RMD income to charity using the federal QCD provision. This will amount to approx. 25% of our total annual income. Most of our donations will be to agencies that serve low income seniors.

Lynette
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Re: [How much should I give to charity?]

Post by Lynette » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:09 pm

I always gave to my church and Salvation Army whom I greatly admire. This year I'll unashamedly admit it is tax considerations that have made me decide to increase my charitable giving. I have pensions, full SS and have to take RMDs. I worked till 73 so did not have much opportunity for Roth conversions. Now I have to pay Medicare IRMAA payments - and rarely go to a doctor. So my choice is to use QCDs to give to charity to lower my MAGI or give it to Medicare. Naturally charity wins!

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