With the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons fast approaching, this is the ideal time to push your generosity button. Dig deep into your pocket, wallet, purse or checkbook, and give to your favorite charities.
This column will highlight a number of ideas that may be helpful to individuals, corporations and foundations as they plan their gifting strategies for end-of-year giving for 2016 and for 2017.
THREE YEARS ago, I read an inspiring book – Give and Take, by Adam Grant. After a great deal of research, Grant was able to identify and validate three types of people: the “takers,” the “reciprocators” and the “givers.” Grant makes a powerful case that givers enjoy, over the long term, the happiest and most successful lives.
Give and Take had a major impact on my thinking. Having been a reciprocator most of my life, I am trying to become a giver.
Another area of inspiration has been my daughter, Serena, who lives with her family in San Diego. Serena and her husband, Rob, have a wonderful approach to Christmas gifts. Every family member gets one present at Christmastime. The rest of the family’s gifting budget goes to good causes. Serena has been following this strategy ever since her two daughters became teenagers (both daughters, Dyess and Porter, are undergraduates at Emory University – we love having them nearby).
A third area of inspiration came from Andrew Carnegie, who demonstrated the long-term value of endowments. The Morris Museum of Art, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and the Augusta Museum of History are some examples of organizations that gain great value from well-established endowments. All three endowments are well-invested, and all three help support the annual budgets of these local organizations.
A FOURTH AREA of inspiration comes from friends who have established a model of giving that takes them beyond the biblical 10 percent level. I have gained great respect for these generous, civic-minded, people – many have become close friends. Since 2013, our family has been following this model of giving. Our order of priority follows: St. Paul’s, the Augusta Museum of History, the Augusta Warrior Project, the Press On Fund, the Boys and Girls Clubs of the CSRA, Heritage Academy, the Boy Scouts and Augusta University.
LET’S SHIFT gears and highlight how and why nonprofits reach out for financial support. The three most common areas are capital campaigns, annual budgets and endowments.
• Capital campaigns. Ongoing capital campaigns in our area include the Boys and Girls Clubs and the Westminster Schools. Both are close to reaching their goals, and would be very appreciative of your support right now.
• Annual budgets. At this time of year, most churches and other nonprofits are systematically reaching out as they prepare their budgets for 2017. For instance, the St. Paul’s annual stewardship campaign is well underway.
• Endowments. Endowment support can be especially attractive to older folks. They often will put their churches, universities or their favorite museums in their wills.
SO HOW ABOUT some recommendations for those of you who will be gifting in the next month or two? I have a long list but will boil it down to just two – the Boys and Girls Clubs and the Augusta Warrior Project.
Recently I received a handwritten note from a dear friend and an especially generous person, Ann Boardman. She asked me to highlight, in The Augusta Chronicle, the vital capital campaign of the Boys and Girls Clubs. She reminded me of the importance of this club to our community and the need for a new facility. The record has been superb. There have been no pregnancies and no jail time among its participants, and everyone who has completed the program has graduated from high school.
Donations can be made on the website www.bgccsra.org or by sending a check made out to Boys and Girls Clubs of the CSRA. Please notate that the donation is to the Hagler Club capital campaign. The Boys and Girls Clubs of the CSRA is at 206 Milledge Road, Augusta, GA 30904.
THE AUGUSTA Warrior Project, which has done such great work in supporting veterans in the Augusta-Aiken area, is wrapping up its first “11 to 11” campaign, which covers the period from Sept. 11 to Nov. 11. To continue to help our local veterans, the Augusta Warrior Project needs your assistance. Please make a tax-deductible donation so the AWP can continue to serve those who have served us. Checks should be made out to the Augusta Warrior Project and sent to 701 Greene St., Augusta, GA 30901 – or you can donate through the website augustawarriorproject.org.
Recently, I sent in checks to these two organizations. Please join me – your help is needed and will be deeply appreciated.
(The writer is a retired U.S. Air Force major general. His email address is email@example.com. His website is genpsmith.com.)