An Introduction to Creating a Charitable Giving Plan
Why begin with a Charitable Giving Plan?
The success of any financial plan is measured by the amount of satisfaction and joy that it brings to those who benefit from it. Most people, however, do not wish to be the only beneficiaries of their own financial wealth.
Sharing our resources with others that we love, those who are less fortunate, and with causes that we support, often brings greater satisfaction and joy than simply consuming all of our resources upon our own desires.
In fact, throughout all of recorded history, those who have sought to give back financially to society and towards the basic needs of humanity have been highly esteemed for their selflessness. It is a noble desire to want to leave the world a better place than when we entered it. It is universally accepted that voluntarily sharing our resources is an inherently good human quality. My personal belief is that this desire to give of our financial resources to family, friends, complete strangers in need, and causes that we support, comes from our Creator.
However, in our consumption-crazed culture, this innate desire towards charitable giving is often suppressed. For many people, giving has become more of an ideal, or something to aspire to, and less of a reality.
I believe that another more sinister reason behind the lack of giving today has what I will call “spiritual” roots. Those of us living in a Western free market economy may find that it has become routine to disconnect our financial lives from our spiritual lives. This compartmentalization leads to many destructive consequences including needless financial anxiety, a profound lack of good stewardship, and ultimately, a misplacement of our trust into money itself. While money is amoral, an in-depth examination of our use of money reveals what motivates us. In essence, our use of money identifies and exposes our incentives.
In his omniscience, the God of the Bible knew the pitfalls that the concept of money would present to those who attempted to follow His voice in this fallen world. His Word is clear in identifying money as the chief competitor to Him for our hearts. In His mercy and infinite foresight, references to the topics of money, wealth, and possessions appear in over 2,350 verses throughout the Bible. God’s Word is always the believer’s final authority, not just on matters of faith, hope, and love, but also for our interaction with the mundane things of this world, like money and possessions.
It is my belief that money, and our use of it, represents a divine test of our character. If we begin creating a comprehensive financial plan without first understanding what money truly represents, we risk opening ourselves up to a life of deception. For this reason, I believe that the foundation of every believer’s financial plan should be a Charitable Giving Plan.
Just as it is nearly impossible to successfully navigate a sea vessel without a map and an understanding of how coordinates work, it is likewise very difficult for us as individuals to successfully give money the way that we may want to without first mapping out a charitable giving strategy.
While creating a Charitable Giving Plan may sound cumbersome, it is not a difficult process. However, it will require you to closely examine what is really important in your life. Often, what we believe to be important to us, and what is actually important to us, can be two completely different things.
Because of this, the first step in our Five Levels of Financial Freedom is to create a Charitable Giving Plan. Our Charitable Giving Plan will help us define what is truly important to us. The following worksheet contains provocative questions and exercises that will help separate what you believe that you value as important from what is truly important to you.
So we begin our Five Levels of Financial Freedom with the end in mind. It’s time to allow yourself to dream. So let’s begin.
To get started, click the link below to download your Charitable Giving Plan Worksheet.
Once you have downloaded this form, print it out, read through it and complete it carefully. If you are married, we strongly recommend that you make two copies and complete the worksheet together. Complete it at your own pace and once you are finished, keep it somewhere safe so you can refer to it later in your journey towards financial freedom.
Before proceeding to the next step, be sure that you:
|– Download and complete the Charitable Giving Worksheet (with your spouse, if married.)||– If married, consider completing the Worksheet separately first and then comparing your answers with those of your spouse.|
Remember, by completing the Charitable Giving Worksheet, you are not committing to giving more right now. Instead, you are creating powerful set of lifetime giving goals that will guide you as you journey towards financial freedom.
When you completed this step, you are ready to advance to the next step of Level One which is to begin creating your “go” bag!