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How to be a better giver

By Pauline Muindi | May 24th 2020 at 08:26:39 GMT +0300

When you think about financial freedom, you probably think about acquiring wealth, not giving it away. But like any considerably wealthy person will tell you, philanthropy is a key aspect of financial freedom.

If you are of spiritual inclination, think of giving as something that sends abundance vibes out into the universe, signalling it to bring even more wealth your way. All the major world religions agree that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Bill Gates, the world’s richest person, and his wife Melinda are also known to be the world’s leading philanthropists. With their foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, they are known for worldwide projects to enhance healthcare, reduce extreme poverty,  and expand educational opportunities. Since 1994, they have doled out more than $50 billion (Sh5.3 trillion) to charities all over the world.

Warren Buffet, The Berkshire Hathaway chairman, is also one of the world’s top givers. He has pledged 99 per cent of his wealth will go to philanthropy during his lifetime or at death. Together with Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet set out to encourage more high net worth individuals to pledge to give more to charity.

Through their efforts, hundreds of billionaires such as Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Mackenzie Bezos pledged to donate more money to a range of charities.

If you want to be a wealthy individual, get accustomed to being a giver. Although it seems like a counterintuitive in building wealth, when you give strategically, it can be part of a sound money management system. Additionally, giving comes with the satisfaction of positively impacting lives.

If you are interested in being a better giver, here are some tips for you:

Start now

You might feel like you don’t have enough to give away yet. But almost every one can give to charity. You don’t have to give a lot of money or contribute to big charities. You can start with giving to the needy people in your local community. Think orphanages, church-initiated charity initiatives, or even helping out a needy relative.

With as little as Sh1,000, you can feed a needy family or help put a roof over their heads. The key is finding small organisations or initiatives that use your money to the maximum effect.

Giving isn’t just about money. You can also volunteer your time and skills to your charity of choice. For instance, if you are a great at knitting, you can offer to knit sweaters for children at an orphanage. You can help take care of animals in a local animal shelter. If you have IT skills, you can offer to improve a charity’s website. Everyone has something of value to offer for charity.

Budget for it

Giving should be part of your monthly budget. When making your budget, don’t forget to set aside some amount for charity donations. By setting a specific amount to give, you won’t have to worry about not having enough left over to give after spending.

One way to create money for giving to charity is by channeling what was going towards debt into giving once the debt is fully paid. You can also cut down on treats for yourself and direct the money into charity. You can set up a special savings account for charity if you want to have a considerable amount for a bigger cause.

Choose a cause

Sadly, the world will always have needy people and worthy causes that require funding.

To have a big impact, it is advisable to choose causes which are especially meaningful to you for any reason. For example, if you love animals you can focus most of your philanthropic funds towards animal shelters. If you are passionate about education, look for charities which help educate needy children.

If you are worried about how charity organisations will spend your money, it is advisable to opt for smaller organisations. After identifying a particular issue that you’d like to donate towards, list several organizations in that category.

Research on which organisation is the most impactful and cost-effective before making your donation. Don’t forget to search on whether the organisation has scandals related to fraud or misuse of funds.

If you have sufficient funds, it is still a great idea to donate to different charities. If you are new to a particular issue, you can give to several charities in that category as you learn more. Later, you can decide if you want to concentrate your giving to just one organisation.

Respond to natural disasters

When a natural disaster - such as flooding or drought - strikes, multitudes of people can be left hungry and homeless. The best way to help in such disasters is by sending money to help the affected.

Although the  immediate impulse might be to send items such as food, clothing, and blankets, this might not reach the affected quickly enough. Additionally, donated items may take up precious storage space, create additional transportation costs, and use up volunteer time as they move the items that might not even be urgently needed.

However, if a natural disaster has happened in your local community, it is still a good idea to donate your time and the material goods.

Remember to follow up

“Tenda wema nenda zako” (Do good and let it go), says a popular Swahili saying. However, that saying doesn’t really apply in conscious giving. It is prudent to make sure that your donations were properly utilised.

You’re not looking for itemised expenses, but a progress report to give you a sense of their impact. If an organisation can’t tell you what kind of impact they have created from your donation, it is time to go back to the drawing board and find a more responsible and open charity.

Giving Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Warren Buffet
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