We pay a lot of attention these days to measuring the outcomes of philanthropy. Giving becomes an investment. While metrics are important, the bottom line is that, for most people, giving is personal. We give to our local food pantry, to our place of worship, to our schools. We empty our pockets of coins for the men and women who line the streets in increasing numbers with outstretched hands. We think globally but act very locally. As an advisor to families and individuals in the area of philanthropy, I encourage this. Giving should feel good and philanthropy will increase if the act of giving is pleasurable.
Thanksgiving is an appropriate time to consider giving, whether individually or as a family. Why the holiday even has the word “giving” in its name. We gather to give thanks and many donate food so that those less fortunate can enjoy a holiday meal. Family members give to one another by sharing love and warmth and stories. We pass footballs and chips and cranberry sauce. Most of all, we pass the time together on this day. There is often more time to talk on Thanksgiving than on other holidays. It is a good time to share our philanthropic interests with family members and friends. Giving Tuesday, a day to focus on and increase charitable giving, is right around the corner. Thanksgiving is a good warmup. The interest is building. Efforts like The Family Dinner Project, www.thefamilydinnerproject.org have created material that can help facilitate a family discussion. There are many ways to cut the pie and feel satisfied.