There are four distinct Seasons of Giving.

What??? Four – I thought there was just one – Christmas!

This article explores the Four Seasons of Philanthropy and how they fit in with your financial planning calendar.

The most generous distribution of funds is at Christmas time, but philanthropy is more than just the outflow of capital resources. While it is definitely seen as a financial transaction in response to an emotional experience, when we work with our clients, we take a deeper approach to charitable giving. At your philanthropic disposal are four resources – Time, Talent, Treasures and Ties. Throughout the year, you might have more less of these resources at your disposal. Of all of them, only your treasures are renewable,  you can’t get time back… so it is important to determine where, when, and how to leverage or invest the other types of capital.

What are the Seasons of Giving?

The year is broken down into four quarters lining up with the financial and seasonal calendar.

Q1 – January to March – Tax Planning:

As you pull together you documents for your tax filing, you can start mapping out your charitable giving for the year. Look at your current year’s household budget and financial plans to see how you can maximize different tax credits and alternatives (like donating securities and insurance) for your larger charitable donations that you might be making that year.

Q2 – April to June – Legacy Planning:

May is Leave a Legacy Month. A campaign launched by Canadian Association of  Gift Planners (CAGP) to encourage you to update your Wills (or start one) AND designate a charitable contribution in your Will. The second quarter is also a good time to have a family meeting around what legacy means to you and how you want to see this unfold in your lifetime and after you are gone. Wondering what this conversation could look like? Download the Legacy Interview Questions to help you get the conversation started.

Special dates of note – National Volunteer Week is the second week of April

Q3 – July to September – Summer Holidays…

Are here again! What will you be doing this year? When planning your holidays consider the “voluntourism” conundrum. When going on holidays where volunteering is a component of the trip, consider if what you are doing is taking a job away from a local craftsman. Where are the materials being sourced, is the importing of goods to get the project done undermining the local economy? What makes philanthropic travel different from voluntourism is how the experience is designed, the work that is done up-front, in-country and post-trip and the expected and measured results of you being a part of the social issue system in the country you are visiting.

Q4 – October to December – Holiday Giving:

This is the most common time of year that we deploy capital to charities. This is also the time of year that we tend to volunteer as a group, either with our companies, our families or with our friends. This is also a good time to reflect back on your year and see how aligned your giving is to the budget you set out 12 months earlier. Here is a post of some things you can do with your family or colleagues to enhance your philanthropy plan.

Special dates of note: National Philanthropy Day, Nov. 15

There is never a wrong time to start your philanthropic journey. At the end of the day, planning your philanthropy and setting up your legacy is not limited to a single time of year. Just like the seasonal calendar runs on a cycle, the philanthropy planning calendar runs in a continuous cycle so you can jump in at any given moment and not worry about not starting at the beginning of the year.