In our recent series “Philanthropy in your Daily Life” we have talked about mindfulness models for choosing your cause, how to know where to give, and various ways to give.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, this month we’ll move into a series that talks about the idea of consistent philanthropy. This means creating ongoing philanthropy in all aspects of your (daily) life, including micro giving and choosing to purchase from social enterprises. The world is changing and more companies are beginning to align themselves with non-profit objectives in order to make real change in the world.

Rule #1 for consistent philanthropy:
Give more to less

One piece of great advice that I’ve received as a personal donor was to choose one or two nonprofits per year and then support them for at least a couple of years. This makes sense to me because I understand the true cost of donor engagement. It is better to give more money to a smaller number of charities than less money to many charities.

Why is this?

Well, one reason is that charities work very hard for your attention, and therefore once you give money, they want to keep you as a donor. You go into a database where they then begin the extensive work of keeping you engaged, while learning about you, and trying to communicate with you on an ongoing basis. If you give small amounts to multiple organizations, they are going to spend hard-earned money sending you updates and all kinds of communications. This is all for nothing, if you don’t intend to continue supporting them.

Rule #2 for consistent philanthropy:
Decide what to give, and give recurring amounts

Again from a non-profit perspective, it’s easiest for the organization to know what is coming in each month/year in order to truly be most effective. A monthly recurring amount is a great way to be the most efficient in your giving. We loved this math model from Lansie Sylvia over at so much that we had to include it here. It’s a great way to discover an appropriate monthly amount for you to give:

“MATH ALERT! The way I start my yearly Giving Plan is to set aside seven percent of my dispensable income to philanthropy. What does that look like? So glad you asked! Let’s say you make $65,000 per year. Now let’s take away your food, shelter, savings needs and Uncle Sam’s cut.

$10,000 for taxes
$12,000 for your rent ($1,000 per month)
$5,200 for food ($100 per week)
$2,400 for healthcare ($200 per month)
$9,000 to save for that house you mentioned ($750 per month)
Dispensable Income = $26,400

But that doesn’t include things like gas for the Honda, pet-related expenses or worldly travel. So let’s call it an even $20,000. Seven percent of that is about $1,400, which is roughly $27 per week to support the causes that matter most to you.

Does that sound reasonable to you? If so, then set those automatic monthly donations up, baby! Recurring monthly donations are an excellent way to ensure your giving is painless and consistent. If not, keep tinkering until you hit a formula and amount that works for you.”

Rule #3 for consistent philanthropy:
Purchase from social enterprises

Philanthropy today isn’t just about what you can donate within the non-profit world. Conscious capitalism is surfacing everywhere and you’ll hear it as social enterprise or conscious business, but basically it means a company or person that choose to follow a business strategy, in which they seek to benefit both human beings and the environment. This includes maximizing social impact for the community alongside profits, but not prioritizing profits before people.

Seeking out social enterprises in your community and online, and then changing your shopping habits to support them is one HUGE way of changing the world.

Some good websites to start with are:

Social Enterprise in Canada >>

Social Enterprise Directory in the U.S.A. where you can look by community location>> 

Social Enterprise Shopping in the U.S.A. where you can shop directly from social enterprises >>

See you next week!