How many of us are looking for purposeful ways to give back but can’t seem to find the time or the starting line? We live in an era where there is constantly a cause worth contributing to. The possibilities can be overwhelming. Many of us find ourselves conflicted on the why, where, and how to get more involved in philanthropy.
Let’s take a look at how you can start making an impact in your local community, increasing your own happiness, and building your legacy along the way.
Why We Give: Who Really Benefits
The benefit of giving goes far beyond the ultimate charitable beneficiary. According to Laura McKnight, CEO of Crown Philanthropic Solutions, “Philanthropy is celebrating what it means to be human, which benefits both the receiver and the giver.” Giving back has lasting effects not only on those in need but also on the donor’s happiness and legacy.
The Happiness Effect
Studies show there is a scientific correlation between contributing to a cause and happiness. In a study performed by researchers at the London School of Economics, the results were clear: the more that people volunteered, the happier they were. According to HelpGuide, the study focused on American adults and, “compared with people who never volunteered, the odds of being ‘very happy’ rose 7% among those who volunteer monthly and 12% for people who volunteer every two to four weeks. Among weekly volunteers, 16% felt very happy— a hike in happiness comparable to having an income of $75,000–$100,000 versus $20,000, say the researchers.” Whether you are donating time, effort, or money, being involved in what you deem important can be a cathartic release.
Leaving a Legacy
Consider your charitable passions and the legacy you want to leave for your family and generations to come. Dedicate time to discussing the philosophy of your family’s goals and which needs resonate with you. At Venturi, we have a partnership with Dr. Richard Orlando, founder and CEO of Legacy Capitals, to enhance our client experience. We offer family wealth education and resources to move toward transparent, effective communication about your family’s legacy. Our resources aid in guiding these conversations to establish what is important to your family.
Finding the right charity can be difficult – to feel good about your choice, select a charity that addresses your motivations for giving and utilizes your generosity in the most effective way. Do your research. Look into reports on the organization’s programs to see if the cause truly resonates with you. Dig into the organization’s Form 990, filed with the IRS, on GuideStar to get a better understanding of the charity’s expenses, including executive salaries, and the overall mission of the group. Check charity watchdog directories such as Charity Navigator and CharityWatch for a measure of the organization’s efficiency for funding programs with your donation. These resources can help you to determine whether the organization is trustworthy and capable.
If you’re looking for inspiration for local causes to support, visit I Live Here, I Give Here. Programs include a digital marketplace connecting local donors to Austin area nonprofits, a guide for how and where to begin joining a nonprofit board, and opportunities to meet with Austin’s most influential philanthropists.
How to Give Back
Deciding how to give back is a deeply intimate decision unique to each individual. Ultimately, you should give back in a way that is important to you. Reflect on your purpose for giving, and begin doing, whether that means volunteering your time, taking a hands-on fundraising approach, or donating monetarily.
A financial approach to giving back takes a considerable amount of strategic planning to ensure that all parties are benefiting in the most efficient way. There are multiple strategies used in estate and tax planning to maximize charitable donations and reduce income taxes. If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of structuring various gift-giving techniques including charitable trusts, donor-advised funds, and family foundations, click here to schedule a time to speak with a Venturi team member.
How We Give Back
Venturi is proud to support local charities including Austin Voices for Education and Youth, The Missy Project, Joyful Horse Project, and the Bamberger Ranch Preserve. We would welcome a conversation with you to help you define your philanthropic passions, research opportunities, and find new ways for you and your family to give back.