This Giving Tuesday, try writing out your 2018 giving portfolio. Here’s mine.

This Giving Tuesday, try writing out your 2018 giving portfolio. Here’s mine.

When I was in business school, I took a class on investment strategy. One day, my professor wanted to illustrate what a balanced portfolio looked like, so he shared a screen shot of his personal Vanguard portfolio with the class.

For the three minutes that slide was up, the entire class furiously recorded our professor’s investment choices. After all, he was a professor of investment—I felt like we were being let in on the secret to riches.

It turns out there were no ground-breaking investment revelations on that slide.  What that lecture did teach me, was the value in seeing an example of an actual person’s investment portfolio. It made me feel one step closer to being able to create one that met my needs and situation.

That’s why this Giving Tuesday, I’m sharing my giving portfolio with you. Similar to an investment portfolio, a giving portfolio is a collection of organisations you give to; in this case over the course of the past year. It’s a great way to take stock of which causes and organisations you supported over the year, and an even better way to plan your giving for the following year.

So, where did our family donate money in 2018? Here’s the breakdown:

  • In 2018, a lot of our charitable budget was focused on the midterm elections in the US. We wanted to support an organisation that registered minority women to vote, so we made a gift to Women’s Voices, Women’s Votes, an American non-profit recommended by a former colleague and activist.
  • Similarly, I donated to a friend’s political campaign. I believed in her principles and her ability to serve her district well, so I gave to her campaign for the state senate. Donations to political parties are rarely thought of as charitable contributions in the UK (and yes, they are not tax-deductible gifts in the US), but if you’re concerned about real social change, I believe you can’t ignore the power of politicians who work on the issues you care about.
  • My husband and I met at Carleton College in the state of Minnesota. We loved getting our university education there and want to help others attend.
  • Finally, I’m signed up to give a monthly donation to the RSPB. They send us a nice kids’ magazine about nature, and I get to continue hoping my kids will learn to love the great outdoors.

But giving isn’t just about donating money, it’s also about giving time and other resources. When looking at your giving portfolio, it’s important to acknowledge these expenditures, too. Here are some of mine:

  • In an effort to introduce our young children to volunteering, we signed up with Glasgow-based Meal Makers. They matched our family with a local senior citizen facing social isolation. We bring Patricia an extra portion of our dinner once a week, and stay for a chat.
  • This year I gave up selling our old things on Facebook or Gumtree. Instead, I donate all of the baby gear, too-small clothes and unused furniture our family accumulates to one of the various charity shops or local parent centres. It saves me time, and often the goods go to people who really need them.

I hope that by sharing our family’s giving portfolio, you’ll be inspired to jot down your own. It’s a great opportunity to reflect on your giving goals for the new year, or just appreciate what you were able to do in 2018.

If you or your clients need help designing a giving portfolio that fits with your values, do get in touch by emailing

Happy Giving Tuesday!


About Me

About Me

I am passionate about helping people become informed, empowered and enthusiastic donors. After more than 10 years in the nonprofit/charity sector, I embraced my fear of spreadsheets and got an MBA so that I could help citizens like myself become more strategic givers.  Today, I use my unique experiences in both sectors to help people who care deeply about using their money to make the world a better place.

Lauren Janus