Concept of Giving
Whether you call it Giving Back, Paying it Forward or Tithing, giving or philanthropy should be part of your financial plan. It is no coincidence that many of the world’s wealthiest people have strong traditions of giving. Some say it’s the law of reciprocity, a universal principle, which posits that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, interpreted as, the more you give, the more you will receive. Of course, in many countries donations to charities are tax deductible which means that you do not pay taxes on any income which you donate thus lowering your general tax bill.
From the Heart
Giving should come from the heart and be genuine and it doesn’t necessarily have to be money. You can give of your time and care, or you can give food or clothes to someone in need. You don’t have to be rich to give generously. Remember the story of the widow’s offering:
Jesus was sitting in the temple near the offering box and watching people put in their gifts. He noticed that many rich people were giving a lot of money. Finally, a poor widow came up and put in two coins that were worth only a few pennies. Jesus told his disciples to gather around him. Then he said: I tell you that this poor widow has put in more than all the others. Mark 12:41-43 (Contemporary English Version)
Giving generously also doesn’t mean a knee-jerk reaction to throw your money to every televangelist or organization flashing pictures or a video of a child in dirty ragged clothes digging through garbage. Giving should be part of your monthly budget, allocated as an expense. You should give what you can afford and what’s in your budget, not what is being asked for. Giving a $1,000 donation to a charity when you cannot afford it, will not leave you blessed, just stressed. Decide how much you are going to give and where you are going to give. Try to make sure you are giving to a reputable organization and beware of frauds. The organization charitywatch.com is just one of several that monitor charities and is a good place to start your research into your charity of choice. Of course, there are several local charities such as the Humane Society of the BVI and the BVI Diabetes Association which you can investigate for yourself and which appreciate donations of all kinds as well as hands-on volunteering.
If you are Tithing, most churches draw on the Biblical principle where you give or bring one-tenth or 10 percent of your income into the store house. Some debate whether this should be 10 percent of your gross income, your income before tax and other deductions, or your net income, the actual money you take home after tax and other deductions. Whatever formula you use, make sure you work it out in your budget.
Pay it Forward
The idea to Pay it Forward means if someone has done something nice for you, then you in turn do something nice for someone else. This concept also requires that you be attentive to opportunities to help someone. Giving can be a simple act of kindness, like stopping to give someone a ride in your car or helping an elderly neighbor clean up around the house. Advocates of the Pay it Forward idea believe you can change people’s attitude about the world through these acts of kindness.
If you have been given bountiful blessings, you should Give Back, especially to the community from which you have received. Remember, you are only a successful businessperson because people in your community have patronized or shopped at your business.
In 2010, two of the world’s richest men, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, urged 40 of the other wealthiest billionaire families to give away at least half their fortunes to charity in The Giving Pledge. With wealth comes enormous responsibility, says the BVI’s resident billionaire Richard Branson:
“If you’re one of those lucky people who are in that position where you get that extreme wealth, you’ve just got to make sure that wealth goes back to society in some form or another.
Whether it’s creating more jobs, or whether it’s tackling the problems of the world; that money must not languish in a bank account and be unproductive. You can make a big difference.
And for a relatively small amount of money, you can make a big difference to a lot of people’s lives.”