Planning matters

Navigating Charitable Giving: a Q&A with Ripple Impact NW

Giving is at the forefront of many of our clients’ minds this time of year. And while the idea of giving, and the desire to give is there, the specifics can be challenging to navigate alone. We had a conversation with Jeanne Kojis and Megan Dixon, Ripple Impact NW co-founders and board members, about charitable giving, common questions donors ask, and philanthropic activities in our community.

Charitable giving is an important part of the financial picture for many. And like most financial decisions, questions come up in the process.

Common questions we’ve heard include:

  • How do I know the best organization to give to when I’m passionate about a specific cause?
  • What’s the best way to give – cash, my time, a combination?
  • What are the greatest needs in our community and how do I learn about them?

Ripple Impact NW is a local nonprofit that addresses and consults on these very questions. Working in Southwest Washington, they help people better understand our community needs, how nonprofits work, and uncover one’s own values and motivations around philanthropy.

In our conversation, Jeanne and Megan offered valuable insights and ways donors can find answers:

In our community there seem to be many worthy organizations. What’s an easy way to learn about them?

If you have a specific nonprofit in mind, you can always call them directly. Many nonprofit staff would be thrilled to hear from you and talk more about their mission and vision – especially if they know you are interested in supporting their cause.

If that approach doesn’t feel right, Ripple Impact NW is a great resource to help you learn about nonprofits. You can connect directly with us to talk about a specific nonprofit or learn about new ones within your giving interests. For example, if you are interested in supporting animal-related organizations, we can help you identify groups in our community and then begin to make connections directly with the nonprofits.


I only have a limited ability to give, but have many organizations I want to give to – am I better off making one larger contribution to an organization, or multiple smaller ones to various organizations?

There’s no wrong way to give. Focusing your giving on fewer organizations can make a great impact because the gifts can be larger, allowing the nonprofit to do more with your support. That said, other people enjoy learning about a multitude of causes and supporting our community by giving more broadly. There is benefit to both approaches, so do what makes sense to you.

One great way to make a big difference with a set budget is to participate in pooled giving – like through a giving circle. In this model, every member of the circle donates at least a minimum donation amount, and the gifts are pooled together and granted to selected nonprofits.  As a Giving Circle donor, you will see how much can be accomplished by leveraging your donation.


What’s one thing you’d recommend when helping someone broaden their philanthropic view in 2023?

Get curious! Discover what you are interested in (what pulls at your heartstrings and head strings) and lean into learning more. If the environment, or the arts, or social services sing to you, then sign up for a Ripple Impact NW Giving Circle, a forum, or an !nspire Philanthropy workshop – our 2023 schedule will be on our website by early January. Come with an open mind to gain a deeper understanding about the issues facing our community and the multitude of ways you can make a difference. You’ll walk away feeling empowered in your giving and more connected to your community.


Is it important to have an organized plan around giving efforts?

While it’s not always necessary to have a plan for charitable giving, we do know that those who plan ahead are better able to fulfill their philanthropic goals in conjunction with their financial planning and tax planning goals. We recommend working with your financial planner or CPA to decide how much you can give and in what format (cash, required minimum distribution from a retirement account, non-cash assets, etc.).

Don’t have philanthropic goals? Wonder what those are?  If you want to move beyond responding to numerous appeal calls and direct-mail letters, or you’d like to talk through options, we’re happy to provide information for you to consider.

We at Ripple Impact NW are happy to talk about charitable tools and community needs, and when the time comes, we’re ready to help guide donors in alignment with their mission and goals.

Ripple Impact NW is a 501(C)(3) public charity. They serve individuals, and the community. You can email them direct at for a no-cost introductory conversation.


Want to talk to your planner?

If you would like to discuss your charitable giving as part of your larger financial picture, please reach out to your planner. We’re here to help you to make informed decisions that align with your long-term financial goals.

Written By Johnson Bixby