A message about your philanthropic journey
People give in many ways and for many different reasons. Our faith sums up what we give in three buckets – time, talent and treasure – yet each of these can be given in many ways. The reasons we give are as numerous and distinct as we are as people. There is social giving, quid pro quo giving, impact giving, faith-filled giving and more.
The terms giving, charity and philanthropy are often used interchangeably. Giving is how we express charity. Charity is how we show our compassion for others. Charity comes from the Latin word, caritas, which means love for all. Philanthropy is defined as the love of humanity. Our faith and values influence our giving. Our Eucharistic Prayer includes charity: Remember, Lord, your Church throughout the world and bring her to the fullness of charity…
There are lots of myths about giving and philanthropy – correlations between the amount of money and the impact or the amount and the degree of satisfaction experienced and even the age of the giver. Luke shares in his gospel (Luke 21: 1-4) how Jesus recognized the sacrifice of the widow when she contributed a small amount (mite) while those who were wealthy sacrificed less with their larger contributions. The amount and the sacrifice of giving and whether the giving achieves its purpose is dependent upon the giver.
“Giving should be entered into in just the same careful way as investing… Giving is investing”
– John D. Rockefeller
Regardless of amount, age or reason – do you know why you are giving? Is your giving a conscious effort with an intended purpose? Is your giving investing in something or someone and if so, is your investment making the impact you want? The impact can be maximized with some time spent reflecting on your distinct reasons and purposes for giving. Your giving is in fact your philanthropic journey. Where did your journey begin and where do you want your journey to take you?
Some of my earliest memories of giving include engagement in 4H, Girl Scouts and swim team fundraisers. I learned early that our family gave first before we asked anyone else to give. I also recall my father’s stewardship of nature and his charitable giving to organizations with conservation missions, my mother giving her time and talent to her family and my grandmother’s example and encouragement of giving through offertory. Later in adolescence and young adulthood, I remember giving through sorority, various clubs, civic organizations and church. My own philanthropic journey has been influenced by family members, friends and my faith. As the journey continues, my giving evolves from obligatory and impulsive to getting organized and researching to maximize impact.
To discern your philanthropic journey, take some time to reflect upon these questions.
What were your childhood experiences – specific moments (positive and negative), favorite places and favorite relatives and friends and how have these influenced you and your interests?
Did you experience charitable moments in your life – giving to others and others giving to you?
What are/were your dreams and goals at the age of 21?
What are/were your dreams and goals at the age of 35?
What are/were your dreams and goals at the age of 55?
What are/were your dreams and goals at the age of 70?
At these different ages consider:
What motivates/d you to reach your goals?
What inhibits/ed you from reaching your goals?
What experiences inspire/d your greatest joy?
What experiences bring/brought you stress, anger, hardship?
What is/was your greatest need?
What is/was your greatest regret?
What is an important life lesson you would like to share with others?
I hope reflecting upon these questions helps you discern your charitable goals. Defining these goals can maximize your impact and your joy in giving. In my next article, we will review what to consider in the steps for defining your distinct purposes for your giving.
We are here to support your Catholic Giving. Please call us at 407-246-4889 if you have any questions about establishing a giving plan that supports your Catholic values.
God bless you!Kimberlee Riley
President & CEO