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Charitable Giving By Purpose

For those looking to put their philanthropic urges into action, the challenge lies not in finding a worthy cause, but rather in choosing among the large number and variety of available options.

The year is not quite over. In fact, there is still space to squeeze in that last charitable gift of 2013. It seems most of us time our charitable planning to coincide with the holidays Question: is your charitable giving aligned with your deepest beliefs and values?

While you are in the "holiday spirit," you might want to survey a recent Forbes article titled "What Kind Of Philanthropist Are You? A How-To For Aligning Your Giving With Your Personal Values."

While the original article speaks for itself, consider the following guiding questions when it comes to your own giving:

Do you want to invest in direct services that provide access to goods and services to those that need it? Or invest in reinventing existing patterns of resource creation, access, and distribution? Or help initiatives that are enabling new ways of thinking about social issues?

Is empathy a key driver of the initiative? In a world where there is an increasing rate of change, charities and businesses alike are being faced with the difficulty of following rules that will constantly become outdated. Does the initiative consider the needs, perspectives, and dignity of the community it's engaging?

Is the organization incorporating systems for evaluating impact and integrating community engagement and feedback? Is it adapting to the evolving needs of the community, as well as to failures and successes?

Is the initiative you are considering aiming to scale operations or to scale impact?

Technically, there is time left to give, at least until the ball drops in Times Square. Before you cut that check, hand over that cash or make that online transfer, take time to consider the "why" behind your generosity.

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