A Simple Framework for Giving: Time, Talent & Treasure


Generosity can take many different forms. As the nation’s largest provider of support services to private foundations, every day we see inspiring examples of the variety and creativity that can make giving so impactful for the recipient – and rewarding for the giver.

The most common ways to give are in time, talent and treasure – an idea of Biblical origin reinforcing that all individuals are capable of uniquely sharing with others and may do so in a variety of ways. Over the years, this notion has been adopted in various ways and over time has become a simple and effective framework for philanthropy. Let’s explore it here.

The Gift of Time
Essentially, the gift of time means just that: the volunteering of one’s own time to help others. Such giving can vary widely depending on (1) the needs of specific populations, communities and charitable organizations and (2) the preferences and interests of the giver.

Giving time can be direct, hands-on service in which the giver personally interacts with those in need. Some examples include tutoring children at a homeless shelter; visiting nursing home residents; serving meals in a soup kitchen; or helping an understaffed charity organize a food drive. Giving time can also be indirect service such as stocking shelves at a food pantry, helping to staff a charity fundraiser, or distributing flyers and making telemarketing calls to support a charitable cause.

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