Haiti Reveals Need For 'Planned' Charitable Giving

Authors of 2009's "The Art of Giving," say that without individual giving plans, crisis funding challenging

Jan 28, 2010, 09:45 ET from The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies

NEW YORK Jan. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- With U.S. contributions to Haiti flowing in at a record pace, the recent earthquake is showcasing Americans' financial generosity in times of great need.*  Yet, for many people who made charitable donations at the holidays, finding additional funds is challenging. Some experts suggest that individuals, corporations, and foundations take this moment to develop a giving plan and budget for 2010.

According to philanthropists Charles Bronfman and Jeffrey Solomon, authors of The Art of Giving: Where the Soul Meets a Business Plan (November, 2009): "We're an extremely generous nation in times of need, but often our giving behavior lacks longer term vision. Too many Americans give only in response to appeals and disasters, and do not proactively budget their giving as a year-long endeavor."

In these particularly difficult economic conditions, Bronfman and Solomon offer the following basic guidelines for creating a giving plan and budget:

  • PLAN EARLY: Don't wait until Thanksgiving to think about year-end charitable giving. Develop a giving budget in January as part of an overall household or organizational budget.

  • KNOW YOUR PASSION: In January, ask yourself, "Where do I want my philanthropy to make a difference this year?" Then look for beneficiaries that help you reach your goals. As a guideline, roughly 75 percent of annual giving will go towards your stated goals, while 25 percent will fulfill obligations like donations to alma maters or religious affiliations.

  • HAVE AN EMERGENCY PLAN: Within your plan, know how much additional money you can give in case of emergencies, or identify those areas you would cut back on in case of an emergency – such as a natural disaster or the appeal of a friend in need.

Charles Bronfman spent fifty years with the Seagram's corporation, most recently as Co-chairman. In 1986, he along with his late-wife founded the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies (ACBP), engaging in $220 million worth of programmatic activities. Jeffrey Solomon has been the president of ACBP for the past twelve years.  A widely recognized expert on philanthropy, he has more than eighty articles on the subject for professional and popular audiences, and has taught it at New York University. 

* The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that $305 million was donated to 32 U.S. charities in the first eight days after the earthquake in Haiti.

SOURCE The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies