Over the past 24 years I’ve worked in the legal, financial services and nonprofit sectors. In that time, I’ve seen incredible examples of generosity, and often from very unexpected sources. But proof of the incredible generosity of Americans isn’t just limited to the charitable instances I’ve observed. The Giving Institute’s most recent Giving USA annual report from 2021 revealed that despite the effects of the pandemic, contributions to U.S. charities totaled 5% more in 2020 than in the previous year. It’s a testament to how strongly we feel the need to help others — and the rewards that we get from giving.
We typically think of generosity in terms of giving money or volunteering — and both of these are good and necessary. However, charitableness isn’t limited to time and funds. Generosity is a state of mind, a condition of the soul and a way of life which looks at the world from an abundance mindset. Consider the following ways in which we can demonstrate a benevolent spirit absent of financial consideration, and live a more generous life:
We are exposed to a fast-paced, highly distracted world with a constant barrage of notifications, emails, texts and calls demanding our attention. Consequently, when we are face-to-face with people, we are often thinking about a million other distractions. Consider turning your notifications off while you are with family, friends, colleagues and business associates. Instead, show generosity by being fully present in your conversation.
Give kind words
Due to a wide variety of factors, our culture has become polarized. This often brings the worst out of people, especially on social media platforms. Instead, look for ways to compliment those you speak to or just assume the best of the people around us. I have heard it said, “Be kind! Because each person is fighting a hard battle.” Simply being civil is an act of generosity.
Give your influence
Another act of generosity is to use your influence to help another person. This could be connecting a friend with a business opportunity or referring business to a colleague. As we age, we also can mentor the next generation. We never know when one small gesture of kindness to a friend, colleague or stranger could make a profound difference in someone’s life.
Of course, you may choose to live a generous life both financially and in your daily actions. At Heritage Trust, we can help you maximize your charitable giving and philanthropic goals.
Through the creation of a donor-advised fund, facilitating a qualified charitable distribution from your IRA to the management of a grant-making private foundation, we are here to help.
During what has been an enormously challenging period, philanthropy continues to be a way that we can help one another and support our communities. If you would like additional information about charitable giving, please contact us at 800.375.4646.