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How to ‘Give with Purpose’

Photo of author, Teresa Shawver, FPQP™, CPFA®.
Teresa Shawver, FPQP™, CPFA®
Manager of Advisory Service Standards

I have heard so many people comment during this holiday season in particular that the last thing they need is “more stuff.” I am certainly in this camp. I am full-on purging at this stage in my life.

Yesterday, I listened to a discussion on local radio about “gifts with purpose.” Honestly, the best “gift with purpose” that anyone could give me this holiday would be to take a box with them when they leave my home – specifically, a box filled with “treasures” of old that I should have parted with years ago!

This time of year, in addition to gift exchanges with family and friends, many people also consider charitable giving. In fact, according to The Network for Good’s Digital Giving Index, 31% of annual charitable giving occurs in the month of December alone.

As you contemplate giving with purpose, whether in December or any other time of year, I recommend reading How to maximize your charitable donations this holiday season, as it shares suggestions for doing your research and giving “in confidence.” For those who are in a position to give financially, consider gifting appreciated securities to avoid large capital gains. If you are unsure how to do this on your own, reach out to your financial advisor.

Think outside the box. If you are unable to make a financial donation this year, there are plenty of other ways to give with purpose:

  • Consider volunteering. Your time is a valuable asset that can make a difference no matter what the organization.
  • Donate unused or gently used items from around your house. There’s nothing like a good purge to get you ready for the new year!
  • Provide a hot meal or a cup of coffee to someone in need.
  • Stop in and check on your elderly neighbor.
  • Drop off greeting cards to residents of a retirement home.
  • Share a smile or a kind word with a stranger.

Any of these “giving opportunities” can make a significant difference in someone’s life and make their season just a little brighter. Human connection, after all, may be the greatest gift we can give during the holidays and throughout the year.

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