Develop a charitable giving strategy

Develop a charitable giving strategy

It’s charitable giving time and this time of year, I get more and more charities asking for money and donations.  I know it’s all for a good cause but I’ve never liked strangers coming to my door at supper time or get soliciting phone calls at night while I am putting my kids to bed so a while back I felt it was important to develop a charitable giving strategy.  A charitable giving strategy is just a planned philosophy and delivery of charitable efforts.  Here’s my strategy:

Give more to less

For quite sometime now, I have been inspired by Robin Sharma’s quote “The key to a great life is shifting your focus from accumulation to contribution.”  I’ve had been very fortunate to have met some really incredible people who give significantly to charities both with time and money.  I think charitable support is more meaningful with fewer relationships rather than $20 donations here and there to many different organizations. I’m not against giving small amounts here and there.  I still do some of it myself but my main charitable giving strategy is about giving my time, efforts and money to a few meaningful charities and be able to say “No thanks, I have a charitable giving strategy already”.  Here are some examples of my ingoing charitable giving plans:

Blogging for Charity

Most recently, my friend Mark Goodfield asked myself and a number of other personal finance bloggers to step up and participate in a fundraising idea to auction off a guest post on my Retire Happy.  Given the success of my blog, I now get a lot of request from people wanting to put up a guest post on my site so I have decided to take this as an opportunity to extend this idea in the future where I will accept guests posts for a minimum donation to my charitable giving fund.  Click here to find out how the Blogging for Charity project is going (Current bid is an amazing $500 from Scott Kwasnechka).

Yih Charitable Giving Fund

When I sold my business in 2007, I decided to take a portion of the sale and start a charitable giving fund I call the “Yih Charitable Giving Fund” through the Edmonton Community Foundation. I got a tax receipt for the lump sum contribution and every year the annual growth goes to a charity of our choice. The really cool thing about it is I have involved my kids as they get a chance to determine which charity gets the annual donation. They are still a little young but I really feel like this will be a legacy that will continue for many generations beyond my wife and I. It’s also a fun way to teach my kids about the importance of giving back.

Empowering Edmonton Event

After selling the business, I had more time to build on an idea I had a long time ago which was to put on an inspirational event to help others better themselves and raise money for a good cause.  In 2010, my good friend Wayne Lee and I founded an event called Empowering Alberta where we have a day of great speakers talking about all facets of life giving people ideas for more success, wealth and happiness.  The best part of the event is our partnership with the Cerebral Palsy Association of Alberta who receives 100% of the proceeds of the event.  Neither Wayne, myself or any of the other speakers take a fee.  This annual event has grown into a great success and we raise thousands of dollars every year for this great charity.  I speak in front of people every week giving my financial education workshops but this event is by far my favorite event because it has such great meaning behind it.

Ideas for Success, Wealth and Happiness

Last year, I decided to write an book sharing all of my personal inspirations and philosophies with others.  What started as a legacy piece for my kids to help them be more inspired to more success, wealth and happiness became another project of giving.  When my wife read the book, she suggested that not only would my kids and family learn from the teachings but anyone could learn from these great ideas.  At that point we decided it would be a great idea and strategy to raise money on an ongoing basis for our charitable giving fund.  100% of the sale of the book go to our charitable giving fund.  If you would like to contribute to a great cause but also get my book with great ideas for more success, wealth and happiness, you can buy it on Amazon in paperback or kindle formats.

My final thoughts

Developing a charitable giving strategy has not only helped me deal with the constant barrage of charities that keep looking for donations but more importantly it has helped me become a better person.  It matters less how much you give or whether you give time or money.  A charitable giving strategy just means it’s planned and as a result more intentional as opposed to purely random.  I highly recommend everyone develop a giving strategy based on your personal values.  It may change your life forever!

Do you have a charitable giving strategy you want to share with others?  Help inspire others to action by sharing you you give back to others.


  1. Cat

    I agree with your idea of having a strategy. i have one as well. I wondered though – You said ” think charitable support is more meaningful with fewer relationships rather than $20 donations here and there to many different organizations.” Does that mean you never do one off donations? I like to do them when family or friends are fundraising.

    • Jim Yih

      Thanks Cat. I do them once in a while too and under the same circumstances. It’s the door to door or phone soliciting that I don’t feel inclined to support anymore. Would you be inclined to share what your charitable giving strategy is? Thanks for sharing.

      • Cat

        Hi – charitable giving “strategy” might be too strong a word to use – it certainly isn’t at the level yours is at. 🙂 Basically, I have 3 charities I support monthly, and will generally chip in for something a friend or family member is rooting for. My main issue is being asked to donate every time you go to a store or buy something – it can add up, but I always feel awkward saying no!

  2. Harold Flake

    I agree that having a charitable giving strategy is a good idea. The door visits from strangers gets to be a bother and the impulse giving of a small sum is of little significance to the charity.In 2004 I had the opportunity to do a short term mission in Bulgaria. I was hosted by a wonderful young man whose designation was “Regional Bishop” and he was overseer for 47 churches. He and his 47 pastors all need working jobs to support their families because there simply are no extra funds for the church attenders to pay their pastors. The young Bishop was given notice of being laid off for 3 months this spring. After the 3 months, he was simply given a second notice. They exist on his wife’s salary which amounts to almost $300.00CDN per month and he spends part of this on gas to go to the 47 churches to encourage the pastors.

    My wife and I decided that he needed financial support more than he needs a job becoaus he already does more than full time work and he is making a difference in the lives of hundreds.

    We are researching possibilities for Canadian Tax Receipts for mission work through him but in the meantime, we have been impressed to help as we can by sending gift funds through PayPal, and not be concerned about the tax receipts.

    The personal emotional reward of being a part of something beyond our own capability and seeing results is far more gratifying than a tax deduction. The insignifican amounts given randomly, when combined and focussed, make a wonderful impact.

    All of our married life, we have sponsored a child in a third world country through a recognized charitable agency. We never knew with certainty that our $ weren’t spent on administrative costs. Now we sponsor an adult who impacts entire communities and we receive direct communication.

    This is a dangerous strategy because one becomes very personally involved and we find that our givings continue to increase because we are supporting something that we have a personal interest in. The latest increase is a $20.00/week investmment for a 4 month trial. This is providing rental of a building for a growing church in a Roma gypsy community. With present day markets as they are, I can’t think of a better place to invest to receive such a high rate of “interest”.

  3. Harold Flake

    Just reviewed my note and don’t know how I managed to get 2004 for my trip. It was 2008. I have returned twice since, so blessed by these amazing, hard working people.

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