Amazing Kids! Magazine

Planning to Give

By Ryan Traynor, Editor-in-Chief


Today we think about earning money, budgeting, and spending smart. However, one important part of budgeting and spending is planning for giving to good causes. There are many benefits to giving. Once you figure out a way to include this in your daily budget, you can enjoy these benefits.

Philanthropy is a big word that means helping out others. This help can come in many forms: time, talent, money or goods. If you find you have extra time, why not stop by an animal shelter and help them feed the animals, or teach an elderly neighbor how to use his computer? Time is a valuable resource. When you give it to others, they appreciate it just like it was money, maybe even more. Talent can be given to someone if you have a skill or capability that may be better than others and you are willing to share it. For example, you can play the piano at your church Christmas program, tutor children how to read at the local library, or design the poster for an upcoming charity event. This type of giving allows you to share a talent which is valued by others. Money is usually given in the form of donations to charities. Many times nonprofits have the volunteers and capabilities to do tremendous work, if only they had the money to buy the supplies to get them started. As an example, Amazing Kids! Magazine is a nonprofit. We don’t charge anything to provide the magazine to readers worldwide. We also have some tremendous talent in our volunteers. However, donations of money are still required to allow the magazine to have a website, computer storage capacity, communication methods, and other administrative costs. Without money donations, these great charities and nonprofits would not be able to provide their services to others. The last type of help that can be provided comes from donating goods. Goods can be canned goods to a food drive, books to a book drive, prizes for contests, or even boxes to store donated items. Specific items are needed by nonprofits to run their campaigns and it is helpful to have them donated so they don’t have to buy them out of their operating funds. Philanthropy improves the quality of life for all concerned. Everyone has something to give that could help make the world a better place.

So, why should you plan to give your time, talent, money, or goods? Many of the things we take for granted – libraries, museums, sculptures in the park, hospitals – are supported all or in part by gifts. Giving allows you to be involved in delivering much needed services to people in your community while assisting in the improvement of the quality of life for yourself and your entire family. If you give money or goods, these may also be tax deductible against any income you have made (but you probably won’t have to worry about that for a while). Most importantly, giving makes you feel good.

Just like planning for a major purchase, you should plan your giving. A personal giving plan, that you review and modify from time to time, will help you achieve helping out in areas that interest you. First, make a list called “Donation Opportunities”. Think about the types of things you enjoy. Do you enjoy reading? List the libraries, Amazing Kids! Magazine, or any other nonprofit that helps you in this area. Think about other things you like to do (sports, teaching, computers, working with children, etc.). Look online or in a directory to find local or national charitable organizations that may need things. There are some online sites that list specific items needed or you can call a local animal shelter, library, school, or family shelter.

Next, think about what you have to offer and create a “What I Have to Offer” sheet. Looking at your calendar, do you have spare time that you can block out to help others? Do you have any talents? Add them to a second list. Do you have any goods that others may want? This could include clothing, sporting equipment, toys, boxes, packing material, or anything someone else may value. Things I have run charity drives around include books, old cell phones, old glasses, board games, and sporting equipment. You can always find a local organization that needs these things. A last important thing you need to think about offering is cash. Look at your savings. Can a portion of that be given to someone in need? Do you get a weekly allowance or earn money from gifts, chores, or a job? If so, perhaps you can set aside a certain percentage each week or a certain dollar amount. Think about this and list this on your sheet.

Finally, match the “Donation Opportunities” list with the “What I Have to Offer” list. Pair up the time, talent, money, and goods to the various charities. Plan what you are willing to do each month. Call the appropriate people in charge and arrange times or training needed to perform the things you are offering. Research the best methods to make your monthly donations. Armed with this information, make it happen. You will not only help your charity of choice, but you will feel better for it!