The New Art of Giving – As you contribute to non-profits this holiday season, challenge yourself to expand the value of your gifts.

The New Art of Giving – As you contribute to non-profits this holiday season, challenge yourself to expand the value of your gifts.

December 19, 2013

As we look around and count our many blessings this holiday season, we are inspired to think about others and to give to organizations benefitting the less fortunate.

 

So who’s at the top of your list this year? And what are you planning to give?

 

I became intimately involved with the business of non-profits when we launched the SHG Foundation in 2000. Using a creative model, we endowed the foundation with the entire profit from Sand Hill Group’s successfulEnterprise conference for software CEOs.

 

After more than a decade of donating to dozens of non-profits, I’ve learned few lessons about how to give. Here are three ways to challenge yourself to improve the impact of your donation:

 

1)      Can you expand the value of your gift? We all know that writing a check can be easy – but truly giving is more difficult. Consider a gift of your expertise by also donating your time as a mentor or advisor to organizations you want to help.

2)      Can you promote the organization to your network? It’s not just your money that helps – it’s your network’s money. Have you urged your friends and family to donate too? Can you promote the opportunity to your company or professional network? For example, we invited Room to Read’s founder John Wood to speak at our Software conference. With more than 1,000 executives in attendance, the donations from the audience increased the value of the SHG donation ten-fold!

3)      Can you feel a connection to the cause? A personal connection can help you navigate the complex and crowded world of nonprofits. By focusing on a specific sector, you can fully understand the players in that space.

 

For example, every time I visit India whether on business or pleasure, I make sure to visit at least one non-profit in order to see first hand the type of work they are doing and how they do it. Here are a few of the impressive organizations I’ve visited in recent years:

  • Akshaya Patra – Feeding 1 million kids a day.
  • Shanti Bhavan – Providing a high quality education toIndia’s lowest caste of children
  • Aravind Eyecare – Working to avoid needless blindness in the developing world.

 

Our Lists for 2013

At the SHG Foundation, we focus on charities benefitting women and children worldwide. This year, we made contributions to the following organizations:

  • Akshaya Patra (above)
  • Just  Read – Improving the reading, writing and math skills of young people.
  • MAITRI – Providing confidential help to South Asian women in the SF Bay Area who suffer from domestic violence, abuse or family conflict.
  • Room to Read – Driving literacy and gender equality in education in underdeveloped nations.

 

On an individual level, Indiaspora has broadened my awareness of Indian and Indian American non-profits. My personal contributions will be to these worthy causes:

  • Aram Sei – Support grassroots organizations worldwide with specific focus on education and healthcare.
  • Arogya World – Leveraging education and lifestyle change to prevent the onset of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases.
  • Beyond Bollywood – Launching a Smithsonian Exhibit of Indian contributions to American culture (opening February 2014).
  • Shanti Bhavan – Providing a high quality education toIndia’s lowest caste of children
  • South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA) – Preserving culture and experiences of South Asians in theU.S.
  • South Asian Youth Action (SAYA)  – Bringing secular afterschool programs to 9,500 South Asian students in NYC.
  • Washington Leaders Program – Cultivating next-gen Indian American political leaders with internships in congressional offices.

 

Now we want to know: Who’s on your list this year?  And what will you give?

 

Use the comments box below and let us know – Happy Holidays!