Table of Contents
“But I Don't Have Time!”
As the accompanying chart
indicates, many of us experience scarcity of time as one
of the biggest obstacles to increasing our giving. Our
lives already feel impossibly full with work, children,
or other interests. For those who feel caught in this
extremely common impasse, we offer the steps below as
an elegant way to resolve the "lack of time" issue.
STEP ONE: Imagine for a
moment that you have no constraints at all on your time
How much would you give?
What level of research and thoroughness would
you give the process (for instance, site visits, evaluation,
learning about your funding area, talking to other givers,
being personally involved?)
STEP TWO: Put the amount
from Step One into a charitable giving instrument
A donor-advised account with a community foundation
allows you to go ahead with virtually no effort on your
part. You could also get help from an attorney to set
up a family foundation, or charitable trust, or some
other giving structure. By putting the money into a
charitable structure you get immediate tax benefits,
and with some trusts a steady stream of personal income,
yet you can still take your time deciding where and
how to allocate the funds.
STEP THREE: Get sufficient
help to do the "good grantmaking" you envisioned in Step
One. For instance...
Simplify your philanthropy by giving larger,
multi-year gifts to fewer groups.
Ask foundations that support groups in your
areas of interest for "dockets" of funding proposals
that they have researched.
Hire helpers, such as administrative assistants
and philanthropic advisors--people who can either take
the chore off your shoulders, or help you create ways
to put your creativity and heart into your giving.
Involve friends and loved ones in the research
and decision-making, or simply give the decision-making
to people you trust.
These options require an
initial investment of energy, but once in place will lighten
your load year after year.
STEP FOUR: At the end of
If not all the funds have been allocated through
your work in Step Three, consider giving the remainder
to a trusted foundation that grants in your area(s)
Celebrate the results of your giving, and
the satisfaction of knowing you are giving fully.
--Anne Slepian and Christopher
© 1990-2005, More Than Money, All rights reserved