What you can do

After you’ve selected the causes and nonprofits you want to focus on, it’s time to decide how you would like to offer support. We have outlined a few options to help you come up with an effective strategy.


We’re not here to tell you much you should give. Giving is based on what makes you comfortable. But, it might be helpful to know how much others like you give when searching for guidance.

On average, Americans give 2.9% of their income to charity. Some groups, both religious and otherwise, also give recommendations on how much to give.

Christianity and Judaism, through tzedakah, ask donors for 10% of their income. Islam asks for a charitable contribution known as zakat of 2.5% of one’s accumulated wealth each year.

If you consider yourself an effective altruist, how much should you give? Effective Altruist philosopher Peter Singer recommends that Americans donate 5% of their incomes, hopefully to effective altruist causes.

Grow your donation

Matching programs are an excellent way to amplify your impact. Employers will match all or part of your gift, and some nonprofits have matching programs that are funded by larger donors too.

With 80 percent of companies engaging in social responsibility programs, corporate giving has the ability to be an even larger-scale source of nonprofit funding. Does your employer have a matching donation program? If yes, make sure to alert them of your donation. If not, consider asking your HR department about potential matching opportunities. Remember to itemize your donations for tax deductions.


Volunteering gives you an opportunity to connect with your cause firsthand through an experience that can be deeply valuable to the both volunteer and organization. Giving time can also be an invaluable learning experience and way to leverage your skills and expertise in a way that is meaningful to you.

Additionally, volunteer programs provide an added benefits for employees, giving team members time to connect outside of a work setting and create personal bonds with other people in the company.

Remember, being a philanthropist is about your intent to do the greatest good with the resources you have available to you– including your time, talent and love as a human being.

To get you started, we put together a guide to help you map out your volunteering strategy through identifying key characteristics of volunteer opportunities to look for:

How much time do you have?

  • A few hours a month
  • 1-2 hours a week
  • 3+ hours a week

Where are you willing to volunteer?

  • Close to home
  • Close to work
  • Close to family

What skills could you offer?

  • Skills you learned at work
  • Skills from your hobbies
  • Skills from your education

What gives you joy?

  • Physical activities
  • Interpersonal connections
  • Research
  • Planning or program coordination
  • Advocacy
  • Leveraging your skills

Are there other people you would want to volunteer with you?

  • Coworkers
  • Family members
  • Friends
  • Community groups