Starting with the gratitude that marks the meaning of Thanksgiving, extending into the next month of celebrations of birth and light, and then moving into the new year of resolutions, the first winter months arrive in a flurry of good intentions. Reminders of how good their lives are stir many to action, and giving to charity is one major action. According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, 50% of nonprofit organizations receive most of their contributions between October and December, and 43% of people who make higher incomes (i.e., households with incomes higher than $200,000 and net worths larger than $1 million) give more during the holidays.
Explore this issue:December 2018
How do people choose where to donate their money? Are there things to consider that may not be readily apparent? What are the best ways to donate? Here are some tips for physicians to consider when thinking about how and where to make charitable contributions, as well as ideas for expanding on ways to give beyond the pocketbook.
Giving to Charity
Katie Brewer, CFP, a financial advisor in Dallas who specializes in advising physicians and runs the website “Your Richest Life” (yourrichestlifeplanning.com), which helps physicians and other professionals with financial advice and planning, recommends first that physicians come up with a strategy on how they want to give. “Make sure you come up with a strategy to donate, because a lot of the time, physicians say they want to donate something back but then don’t take the time to figure out what to do,” she said.
One strategy she proposes is for physicians to compile a list of potential places they wish to donate to as they think of them. “My biggest [piece of advice] is that when something comes to mind on where you want to give to charity, either on a one-time or ongoing basis, write it down and put it in one place,” she said. “That way, you have a place to come back to when you are ready to make a contribution.”
Brewer also offers a number of online resources that address specific issues related to charitable giving (See “Researching Charities,” below). One key issue she emphasized is conducting due diligence on the charities of interest and making sure to give to charities on which you have at least some background knowledge. “Do your homework before you donate money,” she said. “Be choosy with charities, too. They’re not all equal.”