Simplifying giving can make it more satisfactory

We often hear people around the county complain about giving to charity. They say that every time they turn around, a good cause has their hand out.

There truly are many charities that need our money – and time and talents — to help them do the good work for our friends and neighbors. Sometimes, deciding how best to support those we really care about can be dizzying.

If you are like many of us, you read those appeals that come in the mail and through the Internet and see the pictures of the children or mothers in need on our televisions. You see abused and battered children, adults and pets. Their stories tear your heart out.

So we give.

We give $5 here and $10 there, maybe a bit more to one group in particular or to our church.

Often, however, we don’t really have a feeling of satisfaction from our gifts.

Let the Community Foundation of Jackson County offer you a better way to make your charitable gifts. It’s a simple three-step plan, one that doesn’t have to include the foundation but certainly can. Here it is:

First, sit down with your family, maybe at the supper table or perhaps in the car on the way to the relatives for a holiday get-together. Take a few minutes and talk about what you really care about. Is it the well-being of children? The needs of our senior citizens? The mission of your church? What about feeding the hungry? The list could go on, but the point is to select the issues or causes you care about the most.

Second, find those organizations that work to solve those issues, locally if possible. Select one for each cause you want to support and add that agency to your list. Your list should only have perhaps five organizations that you will support.

Third, decide how much you will give to charities next year and commit an amount to each of them. Make your gifts annually or each month, whatever you prefer, but stick to the list. The foundation can help you manage your annual giving if you’d be interested in those services.

At first, all those other letters and appeals for help will tug at you and you may feel as if you are letting them down. But hold fast. Stand strong. You will soon realize that you are now truly making a difference for those charities you support, helping them make a larger impact.

Now your charitable giving will be more satisfying. After using this simple plan for a few years you will have more insight as to why it fits so well because:

You will have increased impact on things that matter most to you. You will feel more connected to your charities. Your giving will have increased. There is reduced waste in the charitable world. The “junk” mail and solicitors calls will be nearly gone. Or at least we can hope. You will have a way to comfortably say “no” as you have a clear plan (what a relief). Overall, you will do far more satisfying and effective giving to help others, including, most likely, people here at home in Jackson County.

Have a blessed Christmas and holiday season, and please remember to share wisely.