Tapping Into the Emotion of Giving

Fulfilled. Motivated. Satisfied. Joyful. Excited. Proud. Inspired. Helpful. Impactful.

Is this how you feel when you give?

When done properly, giving should make you feel empowered. Instead, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the number of causes and organizations competing for your support, leaving your good intentions paralyzed. It happens to all of us and benefits no one. But there are ways to cut through the noise of nonprofit voices and focus on what matters to you.

With a strategy in place, you become focused, motivated, and prepared. When you give from a place of intention, your gifts become more meaningful to both you and the beneficiary. 


A Few Notes on The Giving Table and Recipe for Good

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My journey to creating The Giving Table began in 2009 when my husband and I watched the documentary Food, Inc. We had become increasingly interested in eating better, and the film helped articulate some of our beliefs while also revealing many of the challenges facing our food system. Since then, we’ve maintained a mostly plant-based diet that is occasionally supplemented by grass-fed beef, organic chicken, and sustainable seafood.

Modifying our eating habits was easy. What I found more challenging about my journey into the food system was how little information there was about how to be philanthropic within the sector. When I looked for resources, I couldn’t find a website that connected potential donors with food nonprofits, or that educated consumers about the food system in a way that also supported activism and involvement.

I wanted to be part of the movement beyond my own dinner table, and desired to find a community of like-minded people. So I created The Giving Table.

At its core, The Giving Table is about doing good with food, but it also approaches philanthropy broadly, aiming to demystify the sector, empower donors, and encourage you to develop a strategy that will guide your giving.

The steps included will help you cook up a custom strategy to serve you and your family both short- and long-term. Giving is not done in isolation, so my hope is that you’ll make this a group activity. Plan a philanthropy “date night” with your spouse, or instead of family game night, make it a family giving night. Discuss the questions together, listen to each other, and you’ll soon discover the core beliefs and values that stir your soul. Only then will you be prepared not only to give, but to receive the emotional and spiritual benefits of giving purposefully.


Why You Need a Personal Philanthropy Strategy

Have you ever stood in front of the pantry, waiting to be inspired? Have you opened the refrigerator, scrounging through your crisper drawers, trying to decide what to make for dinner?

Eventually, the meal will come together. You might boil water for pasta, roast some vegetables, and chop up the last of the parsley. You pull down the plates, eat, and wash the dishes, but leave the kitchen slightly unsatisfied.

What if you had cooked with intention, instead?

You might have stopped by the grocery store earlier in the day, soaked beans the night before, kneaded dough that morning to let it rest. Intention is what transforms a good meal to a great meal.


Giving without intention is like standing in front of your pantry with no idea what to make for dinner.


When it comes to philanthropy, it’s not enough to want to give. Without knowledge, plans, and goals in place, you’ll approach grantmaking with the same hesitation as opening your pantry with no recipe in mind.

Intention, like salt in a recipe, is what gives philanthropy its backbone, its meaning.