Faces of Philanthropy: A Checklist for the Season and Beyond


We hope our series so far has inspired you to find and follow your own philanthropic path. We’ve covered a lot of philanthropy-related topics and thought a simple activity checklist might help you along the way. This list is meant to inspire – so pick one or do them all. Attack them this weekend or spread them out over the next year. Every task, no matter how small, will help your community and hopefully bring you great joy.

• Call your preferred organization to see if your skills match their volunteer program.

• Call 211 Connecting Point or visit their Volunteer Hub to find out about volunteer opportunities available in the community and find the right one for you. You can read Volunteer Hub’s weekly article in The Union every Tuesday and online at TheUnion.com.

• Write a check to your favorite organization (and mail it). Let them know why you have chosen to give.

• Set up a recurring giveaway to your favorite organizations by contacting organizations or arranging automatic payments through your bank’s bill payment system. Even $ 5 or $ 10 a month from many donors can have a significant impact, and you don’t have to remember to do anything every month.

• Check the beneficiary designation on your IRA or 401 (k). Evaluate if a tax-efficient distribution to a non-profit organization is an option for you.

• Make an appointment with your tax advisor to assess whether your current donations are benefiting from the tax advantages that may be available to you. If you receive mandatory distributions from an IRA, consider directing a portion directly to charity to avoid income tax.

• Donate items that are no longer useful to you but still have a useful life to a local non-profit thrift store (please do not donate damaged or worthless items – the cost of disposing of the items unmarketable can be a real problem for these stores).

• Find out if the organizations you support have a wishlist. Many organizations need donations of specific items, from pet food to warm socks. Or visit the Center for Nonprofit Leadership’s nonprofit wishlist to see what a cash donation could support.

• Write a thank you letter to the staff of an organization that has had an impact on your life. You might just motivate someone on a tough day.

• Attend a training from the Center for Nonprofit Leadership (CNLsierra.org) to make yourself an even better volunteer, board member or donor.

• Buy locally to keep your money in the community.

• Share your philanthropic story – whether it’s giving or receiving – to motivate those around you.

• Complete a random act of kindness to benefit a friend, neighbor, stranger, animal in need, or the environment.

We wish you a happy experience of giving and sharing.

This series of articles is provided by the Center for Nonprofit Leadership, itself a 501c3 nonprofit. CNL strengthens the non-profit community to realize its full potential. It is a resource center for organizations and individuals. Staff and boards of nonprofit organizations, through workshops and networks, are empowered to fulfill their missions and become stronger and more effective. To learn more, visit cnlsierra.org

Submitted to the Union

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