2020 has been a year, and I think most of us are glad to see it go. As I look forward to a better future, I’m thrilled to end this year with a post focused on giving. I’m proud to announce that in 2021 (and beyond) Educator FI will give at least 50% of all profits to charity.
Know that every time you swing by the site, buy something through one of my infrequent links, or click on an ad, you’re helping. If that’s all you need to know – great! For those who want more details, read on.
Personal Giving Plan
Giving has always been part of our lives, though we often haven’t been intentional about it. As new teachers we gave generously and were actually giving more than 10% of our income.
When we started making more, our giving didn’t keep up. Lifestyle inflation got us, but we didn’t inflate our giving at the same pace. After we started paying actual attention to our finances, we realized that we were giving just over 4% of our income. Our financial goals for the last several years have included raising that percentage each year until we are back at 10%.
All of our financial independence calculations include giving 10% of our annual spending to charity. It’s important to us. Since we don’t include our pension amounts in our financial plan, there is a good chance at some point we’ll have more income than we need. That will go heavily towards charitable causes. Our two main post-work activities are extensive travel and an active philanthropy life.
Our current personal giving plan focuses on giving larger amounts to a few impactful charities that we’ve worked with, or observed their impact, during our years in education. This is a shift from earlier, where we’d spread more small donations around.
We generally focus on those organizations either directly supporting students and families who are struggling or working on the larger systemic issues that lead to the massive disparities in education outcomes.
Each year, as part of our annual budget review (the only budget we do all year), we identify our charitable target and decide how much we plan to give to each. We then give at the optimal time to allow the charity to maximize the donation. For one, we give at their annual charitable ball where there are often matching opportunities. For another, we give during an annual community fundraising time because the charities with the largest amounts end up being listed higher and therefore receive more donations. (Yes, a strange system.)
We aren’t rigid about our plans and sometimes make adjustments. But, having an intentional giving plan each year helps us hit our target and leverage the donation when possible. I encourage you to plan out your giving just as you would other “expenses.”
Educator FI Giving Plan
Now that the site is making (a little) more than what it costs to run, I’m glad to be able to give even more. We’ve hit financial independence without any income from the site, and I didn’t start it to become a millionaire.
Fortunately, writing to share my experience and help other educators know their money, grow their career, and make solid decisions has provided a surprising extra benefit. I’ve monetized Educator FI just to cover expenses, but am motivated to pass on any extra.
Each year, I will give at least 50% of all profits to charitable causes. (It will likely be closer to 100%, but I’m always conservative with what I promise online.)
I want to be transparent about how, when, and to whom I will give so you, the reader, know exactly what the site supports. To that end, this is my charitable giving plan for 2021.
For 2021, I will make donations at two separate times in two different ways.
The first will happen at the beginning of July and include any money made in the first half of the year. The second will be in December and cover the second half of the year.
July – Selected Charities
For July, I will select and distribute the funds to 2 – 3 charities. The selected charities will be focused on improving outcomes for traditionally underserved students. I’ve been clear (I hope!) that one of my life’s missions is to eliminate the disparities in our public education system. This is one more step in that path.
I will publish the amount given to each charity. More importantly, I will describe each organization, its mission, and impact. The description will, of course, include a link should anyone wish to donate as well. This way, I hope to provide a little visibility in addition to my small donation.
(Note: Please do not solicit me for donations. I will publish a clear request if/when I’m seeking input. Thanks – just trying to save us all spam!)
December – Reader Nominated
For the December giving, I will divide the available funds into $100 donations and ask for reader input on the charities. This will let readers direct funds to those charities that matter to them, and raise my awareness of new charities.
Look for a post in November about how you can help support your favorite cause!
You know I’m all about setting effective financial goals. Setting and publishing goals helps motivate and hold me accountable. In this case, it’s also important for transparency.
The Educator FI giving goal for 2021 is: $3000.
The site is still growing, and I don’t heavily monetize because I want to guard the reader experience. As a relatively new publisher, I have no idea what to project for future growth or additional revenue. This number is a stretch based on current revenue and costs, but I hope to exceed it!
As part of my end-of-year closing post, I will publish how I did relative to the goal. I’ll also update the giving plan for the following year. I want you to know the impact we had!
I look forward to writing more about giving in 2021! Thank you for making it possible for Educator FI to support worthy causes!
I also need to quickly thank Physician on Fire and ESI Money, two very successful bloggers who have been explicit about the importance of giving. They were an inspiration, and also took the time to answer questions I had about this decision.
I can’t wait to give in 2021. Have a Happy New Year!