Resolutions for a more generous new year

Last week I admitted my aversion to New Year’s resolutions, opting for three words over complete sentences in my quest for a better me. Then along comes Jason Franklin from Bolder Giving, with giving-focused resolutions for folks who believe generous matters. He has me rethinking my minimalist approach, at least when it comes to our family’s giving priorities and practices in 2013.

Here are Jason’s suggestions for a more generous new year, plus commentary by me:

1) Connect your giving to your spending – What if you give a dollar for every $10 you spend, or even 1:1 if you have the capacity? Would you change your spending to give more? Do you have more capacity to give than you realize?

Ouch. After hitting the after-Christmas sales this past week, I’ve got some serious catching up to do if I hope to keep pace with a dollar given for every $10 spent. Not to worry, though. There’s a stack of year-end appeal letters on my desk that I didn’t get to in December.

2) Give one big gift – Try making one gift that is bigger than you’ve ever made. Maybe you add $50, maybe it’s 100 times more, maybe you add a zero – just pick a way to take a step up (even if you have to rearrange other gift amounts). See what it’s like to think through making a bigger gift and what joy you can get from the experience.

This could be fun. And if my spending continues at the current pace, assuming I adopt resolution #1, I’ll build up a “big gift” account in no time.  Now, which ministry to bless from the expanded largess?

3) Give by forgoing appreciation – If you feel you have sufficient assets, what would happen if you gave all appreciation on your investments this year? If this is too big, what if you gave all appreciation over a certain amount or percent?

At first read, I assumed this one doesn’t apply to me. But wait. Not all assets come as cash. Some are cerebral. I can choose to use my knowledge — my intellectual assets — for profit. Or I can give up appreciation (billable days) and donate my expertise to an extra ministry or two this coming year.

4) Engage others in your giving – Try changing how you give for a year to experience other approaches to giving. Invite your family to decide with you. Give a certain amount to several friends to give on your behalf. Pool your giving with others by joining a giving circle.

Regular church attenders have this one in the bag. Fifty-two Sundays a year, there’s a ready-made opportunity to pool our giving with family and friends. It’s called the morning offering. The folks with whom I gather weekly at the Grantham Brethren in Christ Church are my giving circle. Now if I can just get more of them to talk with me about money, faith, and priorities.

In addition to these four, I add a fifth resolution, picking up on a post from a few weeks back here at Generous Matters.

5) Put your money where the poor are. There’s an abundance of wonderful, worthy causes that we can support financially, but we don’t have to read far in the New Testament to get that Jesus is all about the poor. So, when deciding where to direct that biggest gift ever (#2 above), try looking at ministries that serve the “least of these.”

Do you have a giving-focused resolution or two to add to the list? Shoot your suggestions my way via the comment box below. And then keep in touch as we encourage one another to even greater generosity in 2013. It matters.

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