Give Like a Billionaire

15 Dec

Do it. Come on. Everyone is.

Inspired by a call to action from Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates, many of the nation’s billionaires are giving away at least half of their net worth to charity.

Buffet says he’ll donate 99 percent of his wealth, while $14.5 billion of the Gates fortune has been given to fund vaccines. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has joined the cause. Oprah Winfrey is on board, as are New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and moviemaker George Lucas, reports CNN.

It’s unlikely that you have any billionaires on your business payroll. But even if you don’t, your employees can still be charitable on their salaries by taking some lessons from the uber-rich.

Lesson # 1: Give more money to fewer charities. Billionaires have found that they can make a bigger impact with a large donations to a single cause. Average Americans can follow suit by writing bigger checks to fewer charities.

Lesson #2: Be businesslike about giving. Encourage employees to plan out their giving for the year. At the beginning of each year, they should settle how much charitable giving they want to do and work it into their financial situation.

Lesson #3: Tap your friends for donations. The wealthy elites can talk their equally wealthy pals into donations. But everyday folk can still pool resources with friends and family to make a large charitable gift and impact a community.

Lesson #4: Get your company involved: Billionaires have the weight of their companies behind their charitable giving. But some businesses will help their employees make an impact through matching gift programs. According to the American Red Cross, many companies may even double or triple a donation’s value with their matching gifts.

Does your company have a matching gift program, or does it encourage philanthropy?

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