When I set out recently to gather a group of financial professionals to discuss philanthropy, I knew I wanted to offer two things: a seasoned educator in the field who could address the subject substantively; and to do so at Esperanza Place, where our guests could get a concrete sense of how philanthropic choices can move beyond the financial planning documents and directly into our communities.
I got both. In Dien Yuen of Daylight Advisors, I found a 25-year veteran in the financial and philanthropic space, and a leading educator in her field. And we gathered in the nearly-complete living room of a home at Esperanza Place – one of 42 that will be sold affordably to people priced out of the market.
The conversation that Dien led extended so far beyond the strictures of financial planning and tax strategies. What Dien presented was an exercise we can all undertake to perceive our philanthropy in a more holistic sense – whether we are evaluating our assets to build a mindful legacy, or simply trying to understand what we have to offer the causes close to our hearts.
The answer, in short, is “more than you think.”
By leading us through the American College of Financial Services’ “6 T Spider Diagram,” Dien offered a fuller look at what we can give, one that digs deeper than the “treasure” you have (which, spoiler alert, is one of the “T’s!”).
In this exercise, Dien encourages you to evaluate where you currently stand when it comes to lending these assets to the causes you care about:
Treasure: This is where most people start when they consider charitable giving, and it is a key way to show support and effect change.
Time: You can also, like so many thousands do through Habitat every year, be generous with your time as a volunteer.
Talent: If you have a skill that you are willing to share, chances are that your cause of choice can put it to good use in the community. Many of the amazing photos you see from Esperanza Place are in fact taken by a volunteer who lends her talent to showcase our work!
Truth: How’s the alignment between your values and your actions? Is there an opportunity to live in your values more fully?
Ties: If there’s one thing most of us have, it’s a network. It could be our colleagues, our faith communities, our neighbors, our friends. The people who share our hobbies or are members in the same spaces. How can your personal connections be an asset?
Testimony: Your voice is one of your most valuable resources. You can raise your voice and make yourself heard as an advocate when it comes to issues you care about – it can truly be one of the most powerful ways you can move your causes forward.
Once you’ve taken stock of your 6 T’s, Dien invites you to consider where you’d like to see movement or growth. For some, it could be participating more actively in key conversations about important issues. For others, perhaps gathering a team of colleagues to volunteer as a group. One might see an opportunity to put a talent to higher use, and another might want to move from giving-when-inspired to a more intentional philanthropic plan.
However you shift or grow your giving, the important thing is to do so with intention, in alignment with your core values, and for maximum impact in the spaces that matter to you.
If you’d like to talk about giving with intention for maximum impact, I’d be happy to discuss some options that work best for you. You can reach me at LAmor@HabitatEBSV.org or 408-273-7196.