In terms of your charitable giving, are you sporadic or intentional? Do you give little quantities to a number of causes or slim your contributions to a choose few? Sporadic givers who give little quantities to a number of organizations could not realize it, however they’re “peanut butter philanthropists.” Their noble generosity is real and appreciated. Nevertheless, in case you’re a peanut butter philanthropist, you are able to do higher.

Take into consideration this anecdotal instance whereas placing your self within the nonprofit group’s footwear:

Whereas working on the nonprofit, you obtain a notification that somebody charged their bank card to provide your group $20. You add $20 to your common working fund. Then it’s important to pay the bank card processing charges, present a tax receipt to the philanthropist, add the philanthropist’s identify to the listing of givers to whom you’ll ship annual stories and different future requests to provide extra, and likewise put the cash towards the trigger that motivated the giver to provide. That’s loads of work for $20.

And as a peanut butter philanthropist, you could be giving related $20 donations to a number of charities.

My pleasant problem to you: Enhance your giving technique so you can also make a distinction, as an alternative of being an administrative drag.

* An essential level to make: Small-dollar donors are typically heroes. Some small donations come from households that give a bigger proportion of their revenue when in comparison with larger earners. Nevertheless, this text is chatting with those that have the means and, extra essential, the will to provide in a major, higher, and extra tax-efficient method. 

I’ll talk about …

  • the backstory on this “peanut butter” idea,
  • easy methods to slim your focus,
  • methods to decide to a giving plan, and
  • How you can make your {dollars} go additional with tax-efficient giving.

What’s a Peanut Butter Philanthropist?

The Peanut Butter Manifesto was a memo shared in 2006 from a Yahoo! Senior vp, Brad Garlinghouse. The memo was then circulated by The Wall Avenue Journal to convey this “peanut butter” idea into the enterprise vernacular.

On this memo, Garlinghouse challenged the corporate, saying that it was ineffectively spreading cash and different sources round to a number of efforts. It was spreading the sources skinny — like spreading peanut butter on a chunk of toast. He challenged the corporate to shift that mentality to redirect these sources to fewer intentional tasks so the corporate may make some worthwhile and vital breakthroughs in additional centered methods.

Leaders within the philanthropic house have adopted this related peanut butter metaphor to explain the well-intentioned givers who solely give small quantities to a number of organizations. Whereas it feels good to provide to a number of causes, the philanthropist misses alternatives to make vital impacts. The authors of “Give Sensible: Philanthropy that Will get Outcomes,” shared this quote of their e-book:

Give Smart Philanthropy That Gets Results

You possibly can convey this mentality to your charitable giving technique to make a greater affect.

Let’s discover how in a three-step course of:

Step 1: Slim your Focus

A standard problem I hear when discussing charitable giving with shoppers is that the shopper doesn’t have a company that “pulls at their heartstrings.” The shopper then settles right into a peanut butter technique as a result of they wish to make a distinction however are not sure how. Thus, when impulsive moments occur — like when a information story breaks, a buddy asks you to donate to their marathon, or one other state of affairs happens — they offer money through e-check or bank card by a nonprofit’s giving web page.

Dangent: An sudden perk of making a giving plan with a spotlight is you can alleviate the guilt when saying “no” to a majority of these fundraising requests.

It’s possible you’ll already know which organizations you favor to deal with. However these nonetheless within the discovery section of their philanthropic journeys want to begin performing some analysis to search out causes they care about. Take a step again and determine what makes you tick as a philanthropist.

You are able to do this by asking your self three questions:

  1. What do I wish to see extra of on the earth?
  2. What do I wish to see much less of on the earth?
  3. What do I hope lasts a number of lifetimes?

When answering these three questions, you have got the prospect to determine sure themes that you simply worth and that you could be wish to decide to in a major method. You possibly can then have a selected “rabbit gap” to slim your analysis. On-line serps may also help you discover native, nationwide, or world organizations that do work significant to you.

That can assist you in your analysis, listed below are some widespread on-line portals. These philanthropic hubs comprise scores in addition to list-focused rankings:

Consumer examples: Some shoppers add charitable giving objectives to their monetary plans. Which means that we will determine a financial worth on which to then nudge the shopper to observe by. Whereas not all shoppers attain this purpose, I hope that, by finishing step one, they’ll have organizations in thoughts to which they’re excited to provide.

And, in case you want some additional assist figuring out themes upon which to slim your focus, be taught from the United Nations’ listing of Sustainable Growth Targets that will help you determine which causes “pull at your heartstrings.”

Sustainable Development Goals

Step 2: Take into account How You’ll Commit

In philanthropy, it’s essential to recollect that you’ve got three treasured sources to provide. When you determine a trigger and a company that you simply consider could make a deeper distinction — versus a small peanut butter donation — you may examine the way you wish to commit one or a lot of your treasured sources.


You possibly can assist at a soup kitchen, mentor somebody, dig ditches, rake leaves for an aged neighbor, paint over graffiti, plant bushes, ship meals, or some other approach to do significant — but unglamorous — work for causes you care about. These duties aren’t at all times fairly, however these volunteering to do them can lower your expenses and sources for philanthropic organizations.

By donating your time to those duties, the paid employees can direct their energies elsewhere. Thus, the precious sources of the group — the expert staff and the funds used to pay them — can profit the general public good in a extra environment friendly method. And, by being a frequent volunteer, the group can start to depend on you and give you extra obligations — thus making an much more vital affect.


To remain on the theme of giving vital sources (your treasure), I’m going to deal with two areas: Cash and Biology.


Causes require cash to make a distinction, and bigger donations make an even bigger distinction. Going again to my earlier instance of the work a nonprofit does when receiving a $20 donation, take into consideration how a lot additional a bigger donation goes to justify the executive value of being a steward of the acquired cash. If you happen to’re bored with being a peanut butter philanthropist, begin getting actual about how a lot you wish to donate and the place. This focus may also help you “transfer the needle” in your charitable giving and within the causes you care about.

Consumer Examples: Relating to giving to charity, how a lot is an aspirational purpose and the way a lot is a sensible purpose? We may also help you determine inside your cash-flow planning consultations and inside your general monetary plan how a lot charitable giving is smart in your distinctive state of affairs.


Not all individuals have the monetary sources to provide vital quantities of cash to philanthropic efforts. So, to instill current you with a pleasant problem, grow to be a frequent blood donor, or register to grow to be an organ donor. These beneficiant acts are vital contributions that don’t fall into the peanut butter class as a result of, when individuals want these sources, these organizations make an enormous distinction.


Within the earlier two angles of philanthropy, you give again by volunteering or giving stuff. Now it’s time to take an lively position in your group — domestically or globally.

You’ve got expertise that you need to use to assist others. It’s possible you’ll be useful or have the ability to use your work-related expertise to assist nonprofits. Discover methods to incessantly assist causes by contributing your expertise to worthwhile causes. First, you must analyze what expertise you may lend to a company after which determine how.

You would:

Be a part of your native Social Enterprise Companions (SVP) chapter to be an engaged philanthropist as a nonprofit guide so you may enhance different nonprofits’ enterprise infrastructures.

Serve on a nonprofit board to raised a selected space.

Try Boardnet USA and be taught how nonprofits use LinkedIn to search out new board members.

Ask nonprofit leaders what expertise they need from their board members.

Volunteer in your native commerce affiliation to raised your career.

For instance, in case you’re a dentist, sort in your search bar: “<your city> dental affiliation”. Do that along with your present career or the career you’re looking for to enter.

Observe: These 501(c)6 nonprofit organizations deal with frequent enterprise pursuits versus group good.

If you happen to’re a enterprise proprietor, donate a portion of what you are promoting efforts to a nonprofit.

Attain out to leaders of nonprofits and/or area people organizations and ask the place they advocate you contribute with the talents you have got.

Step 3: Take Motion!

Put your newly created giving plan into motion and discover methods to let your efforts and {dollars} go additional! As a substitute of giving a bit in a sporadic style, commit to creating vital contributions to fewer causes — both by committing extra time and expertise to your causes or by donating extra. By doing this, you may higher leverage some tax-efficient methods to donate to charity.


One approach to shift your mindset is to strive to not give money out of your bank card or checking account. As a substitute, attempt to give appreciated property so you may keep away from capital positive aspects taxes — thus giving extra money to your trigger and paying much less in taxes.

To offer a high-level instance: Say that Jordan desires to provide an $80,000 inventory place to their favourite charitable trigger this 12 months. They paid $30,000 to accumulate this inventory a number of years in the past. Jordan and the charity can each profit with a bit planning.

Giving Stock to a Public Charity

As you may see on this instance, giving the inventory to charity permits Jordan to direct extra money to the charity and likewise forestall a taxable occasion in the event that they have been to promote the inventory place.


To enhance your general charity giving plan so you can also make a greater affect on the causes you care about, try our upcoming webinar, Methods for Tax-Environment friendly Giving.

Two specialists from Schwab Charitable will current well timed tax-smart methods to maximise your charitable giving affect. Matters embody:

  • Charitable traits and the present giving atmosphere
  • 5 tax-efficient charitable giving methods in 2022
  • The Schwab Charitable Giving Information, a complete device that helps you construct a strategic giving plan
  • Extra philanthropic sources that will help you and your loved ones maximize your charitable affect

Since this can be a webinar, no snacks will likely be supplied. And if we have been going to offer snacks, you could possibly be sure that we’d’ve provided one thing with peanut butter! We sit up for seeing you on the webinar, and please tell us if you wish to have a extra in-depth dialog about charitable giving!