Recovering generosity when giving feels stale

Patterns, habits and rituals can be soothing and centering. In our faith practices, many of these rituals help us focus and quiet our busy minds. From daily time allotted for prayer to communion liturgies, repetitive actions can be great reminders of what’s most important. Through these habits, we develop discipline and reverence for the practice.

But sometimes repetition can make things feel stale or even uninspiring. We’ve all asked our spouse, “Can we please try somewhere new?” when trying to decide where to eat on a Friday night. If we’re not careful, doing things repetitively can cause us to lose sight of their inherent purpose or value. In this example, going out on a Friday night isn’t really about the food – it’s about spending time with your loved ones. But in our quest for something new and exciting, we’ve lost our focus. 

It’s easy for giving to become passive and stale, especially when all of our financial decisions are carefully planned in advance. With recurring online giving, you may not even realize that your tithe goes out each month, or that you’ve been faithfully donating to a nonprofit you love for the last five years. Simply, it is incredibly easy to lose the joy of giving. 

How can you recapture that joy if your giving has become blasé? At the Christian Community Foundation, we believe that you can simultaneously be a strategic AND joyful giver. Here are recommendations we hope will help you recover the joy of generosity. 

Regularly review your giving portfolio

When was the last time you reviewed your charitable gifts? It’s so easy to give month after month without really understanding where your gifts are going. When you log into your donor-advised fund account through Donor Central, you can see where your grant requests are going and how frequently they are disbursed. Taking a more active role – maybe even pausing recurring gifts and instead setting a family meeting to choose your gifts each month – can make your giving experience much more active.  

Extend your idea of generosity beyond financial gifts

In addition to regular donations from your donor-advised fund, are you praying for the organizations you support regularly? Add them to your family’s prayer list and talk about the work that they do actively. Seek opportunities to volunteer, send letters of encouragement to their staffs or simply find ways to engage with these organizations on social media. Open and read their annual report when it arrives in your mailbox each February, and see the impact that your donation had on the community. By giving of your time, prayer and efforts, you can add context to your giving that may have been missing previously. 

Engage your loved ones

Want to support nonprofits and set an example for your loved ones? Involve friends and family in your giving! Set aside money each month that you want to disburse from your donor-advised fund, but don’t designate it for any specific organization. Instead, each month connect with a family member or loved one and ask them what nonprofit organization is near to their heart. Then, make a donation from your fund in their honor. This warms the hearts of the people you care about while also expanding your giving horizons. You may learn about new organizations you’ve never heard of before!

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