I was asked by a friend to write up how I do my donations, since it’s apparently different enough from everyone else’s strategy, and combined some pre-planning with some spontaneity that people might find interesting.
At the beginning of the year, I decide how much I want to donate that year. This year it’s around 10% (of my pre-tax income). I then set up an accruing goal in my bank, so that each day it adds a few dollars towards that goal. Every once in a while, when looking at my bank account, I’ll notice that goal now has more than one thousand dollars accumulated, so I decide it’s time to make a donation. Next I look at a list of charities I’m interested in donating to. I usually do my charity research independently of the actual donating, so at this point, I already have a list of charities ready. I pick one from that list, and do the donation, and subtract the money from that goal.
This allows me to do some planning, such as charity research, and choosing causes I want to support etc. whenever I want, regardless of donating. It also ensures I don’t donate more or less than I intend to. At the same time, it gives me the freedom to make donations whenever I want, and (so long as it’s on my list) to whichever charity I want.