Does your holiday giving to charities match your Social Impact Personality Type?

“Giving” is one of the most popular of the 10 Ways to Do Good, especially during the holidays. How satisfied are you, though, with your giving experiences? Many Americans find themselves wishing they enjoyed “doing good” just a little bit more--and many are afraid to admit it.

Help is here! Ann-Marie Harrington and I are getting ready to release our book, Do Good, Feel Better. Our research for the book tells us that the secret to your social impact satisfaction is to understand your own “Social Impact Personality Type.” Discovering your type will help you thrive in your life, work, and community as you make a difference in the lives of others through your good deeds. 

How exactly does your unique Social Impact Personality Type factor into the way you approach supporting your favorite causes? The research offers a few clues. 

If your Social Impact Personality Type is an “Activator,” here are four social impact activities you might enjoy as you do your giving: 

1.    Giving an increasing amount of money each year to a favorite charity based on the organization’s demonstrated results to improve the quality of life for the people or causes it serves.

2.    Giving money to three different charities collaborating to achieve a specific goal, such as increasing the graduation rate within a particular school, discovering new drugs to treat cancer, or rebuilding a community center in a blighted neighborhood.

3.    Giving to disaster-relief efforts after a hurricane, tornado, or earthquake.

4.    Giving money to charities with the condition that the charity report back on the results achieved with the money (e.g., 100 meals were served to homebound seniors).

For “Connectors,” these four things are typically appealing: 

1.    Hand-delivering checks to charities as an opportunity to say “hello” and “thank you” to the people working so hard to improve the lives of others.

2.    Giving money to a best friend’s favorite charity.

3.    Collaborating with family members during the holidays to make one big gift to a single charity instead of many small gifts to different charities.

4.    Encouraging children to add money to a piggy bank designated for charity and then mailing the money to the charity in an envelope with pictures drawn by the kids, or giving online with a credit card and emailing the pictures.

Finally, if your Social Impact Personality Type is an “Investor,” here’s are a few ideas to consider:

1.    Structure an estate plan to include several bequests to favorite charities.

2.    Give appreciated stock to a charity instead of cash, to minimize capital gains tax exposure.

3.    Set up a donor-advised fund to organize annual giving to charities.

4.    Establish a budget at the beginning of the year to include a percentage of income designated for gifts to charity.

The point here is that you'll enjoy your social impact activities a lot more if you first understand your "doing good" personality and your preferences for helping others.

So what do you think? Is it time to get in touch with your good side?