Five Ways to Automate Generosity


Giving money and/or time to a cause you care about is easier than you might think.

We all have causes we care about and organizations we are thankful for, but supporting them can be tricky with limited time, energy and money. Even though it’s often where we get some of the greatest joys, cutting that check can be one of the hardest things we do.

Why is giving so hard?

I think it’s hard because there is so much room for error: forgetting to mail something, too busy to attend a fundraiser, or just too tired to add one more thing to our plates.

So instead we rely on our future selves or others to do the heavy lifting for us.

I recently came to the realization that if I’m making it easy for myself to “set it and forget it” for bills and savings accounts, shouldn’t I be doing that for my giving?

Here are five tips for finding the causes you care about, determining how you’ll support (dollar amount, hours of volunteering, etc.), and making it automatic:

Automate payments.

Talk to your employer about automating your giving through your paycheck each month.  Many employers will automatically deduct any sum of money to put into different accounts or to be sent to different organizations.  Start small (maybe you deduct $5 from every paycheck) and grow as you feel ready.

Save it, and then give it.

If you can’t automatically deduct from your paycheck directly to an organization, create a separate savings account to save for giving.  Set up automatic deductions from your paycheck, and at the end of the year donate it to the cause you care about.

Set it.

Set reminders on your calendar to support your cause and make the support reoccurring.  This could be as simple as remembering to share their latest Facebook status or Tweet.

Support in numbers.

Find friends and family that will help hold you accountable and create a greater impact together – volunteer together, give together, etc.  Create a calendar with dates and times you will volunteer or give back together.

Make traditions.

Find the things that best fit your family: serving every Thanksgiving and Christmas at a local food shelf, adopting families and buy gifts together, or shovel an elderly neighbor’s driveway once a week as a family.

Here’s how I have automated my giving: 

  • I have $25 per month withdrawn from my checking account to support a school for girls in Africa, something I care about.
  • I drive for Meals on Wheels the last Wednesday of every month for two hours with my sister.  This one sits on my calendar and I prioritize it just like any meeting I have to go to at work.
  • Each Christmas my sister and I adopt 3-4 individuals from church and buy their gifts.

Finally, because I get to attend a lot of cool fundraisers through work and for fun, I have money set aside to support those causes as well.

Written by Sara Dannenberg

This blog post is from the Author's perspective and doesn't speak for brightpeak financial. Contact brightpeak if you want to know more about brightpeak products, and keep in mind that they are not available in all states and there are some limitations (some exclusions and restrictions may apply).

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