My last post discussed charitable giving, and how to create a system for making the experience easier and more rewarding. But how do we decide when our giving should be spontaneous (the “save our forests” volunteer at your front door), when it should be premeditated, and when to do “peer-pressure gifts” (it’s not all that near and dear to your heart, but it’s meaningful for a loved one)?
If you break your giving into three categories (spontaneous, planned, and peer pressure), you might find yourself smiling when someone comes knocking on your door and open to what type of suffering or injustice they are trying to eradicate, instead of pretending you’re not there. I use an excel sheet and set a reminder to check in with my spending every 3 months. If you use www.mint.com (I love it, and it’s free), you can create a tag for each type of giving (and check a box for when it’s tax-deductible).
So does our giving “budget” really need to be further divided into categories? It’s your call, but for me, it has removed the sense of pressure and made the whole process even more enjoyable. I feel completely in control with my giving, and yet more flexible and open-minded at the same time. I take great delight in logging into Mint and being reminded of what lives I’ve made better over the past year.