Determining what to give

5 min read

Time to donate

So you have done your research, completed the giver’s due diligence and now it is time to make the donation. How much should you give? Well that is an interesting question with many possible answers. Deciding which one is the right answer is the key. Are there any guidelines for givers on how much to give to a potential organization or project? Well, we’re really not sure about official guidelines, but we do have some helpful suggestions on the matter of giving amounts - at least we hope they will be helpful.

At Mite we work in the area of charitable giving every day. As an organization we base the support given by the required funds to accomplish a specific project. We really don’t get into partial project support or general organizational giving areas. However, as individual givers, we do often participate in charitable giving where our donation is just part of an overall requirement. It is at these times that we apply the principles below.

Determining donation amount

When faced with a decision on amount to give we find that the following considerations help in determining the final number -

  1. Can I cover the full cost of the outreach or requirement proposed by the charity? If the answer is yes, proceed to consideration #2. If the answer is no, proceed to consideration #3.
  2. Awesome! You can fund the whole required amount. But wait, should you fund the whole thing? Sometimes the worst action a donor can make is to alleviate the entire burden of supporting a particular project for an organization. Remember that it is through development and raising funds that a charity grows. Raising from one donor is certainly easier but in the long run it involves less people in the process. Consider whether your donation of the full required amount will be a hindrance or a help to the charity overall. If the answer is help and you can afford to do it, then go for it. If for any reason the answer is no, then go to consideration #3.
  3. So you either shouldn’t or you can’t afford to support the full amount of a particular charity’s need. That is great! Really, it is great. The fact that you are thinking thoroughly about your giving is awesome, and even if you cannot afford the full support, you are going to join others in making it happen. But if it is not the full amount supported, how much should you give instead? First start with the number you have in mind. It is very likely that this number is the correct number. We say this because it is always best to give freely and willingly. That number that you have in mind will likely match up with what you can willingly and joyfully give. However, you may want to consider a few more things before settling the matter. For example, what is your goal in giving? Do you want to help the charity? Do you want to see a proposed project completed? Are you looking to see some personal benefit out of the donation like knowing that you impacted a certain number of people? There are all types of questions to ask here but the key is that you understand your own goals in the donation.

Real-life giving illustrations

Practical Real-Life Illustration -

You receive notice of an upcoming outreach being proposed by a charity you know and love. There is a total required amount and that number is much higher than you can afford, but you still want to be involved. You know the project is going to really impact people and you want to be a part of that impact. Based on the size of the requirement you feel the organization will be able to raise any portion you do not cover, so you make your giving consideration on the number of lives you wish to impact. You understand, either through the information provided or by contacting the charity, how much it will cost to complete the project per individual affected. You determine an amount you can afford and give an amount that impacts the number of people you desire to help. That is your donation amount.

Practical Real-Life Illustration #2 -

A charity contacts you directly and presents an upcoming project for support. Based on the size of the requirement you determine that you can afford to cover the full cost of the project. But your goal is to help the organization in its development of donors. You know the charity is working hard to get more people involved in what they are doing, to get people engaged in giving to their outreach. To give the full amount of this one requirement would certainly be great but it might not be the best based on your goals of helping the charity grow. So you decide to only give ½ of the total requirement. For maximum impact you do this in such a way that the charity can use your donation as a “Matching Grant” to any other donations given toward the proposed project. This helps the charity raise additional funds through contact with new and existing donors. Both the project and additional growth for the charity occurs. Double Win.