5 Traits of Generous People

By in Clean Water, Donor Opportunities

When I think of the generous people in my life, there are a few things that really stand out in all of them. And then when I asked our team to give me some rapid fire “habits of generous people,” there continued to be a constant theme. Our intern Elise quoted her dad and I have to say, this statement is absolute gold: “Without margin, there is no mission.”

Margin is so important. If we don’t have margin in our time, in our budget, in our work, we can’t support the missions of the things we love. Without margin, we don’t have space to give to our passions. Those passions might be a hobby we really enjoy, volunteering, or supporting our favorite cause. But without giving margin, we can’t support the mission.

So in honor of finding margin in our lives, we’re breaking down 5 habits of generous people in hopes that we can all takeaway something practical that we can incorporate into our daily lives to create margin, thus creating generosity:

1. Generous people save well and spend well.

It’s no surprise that generous people save their money well. This also means they spend well – thinking through what they actually need vs. what they want. This is where the margin comes in. If we don’t save well, we don’t have the space to give away our money. If we are frivolous in our spending, we don’t have margin for generosity. I don’t think this means that we don’t buy nice things or buy things we want – everything in moderation, right? It means that we think our saving and our spending through.

2. Generous people are available.

I love this one. Sam, our Development Associate, said this yesterday and I couldn’t agree more. They create space in their lives for others. Whether that is just be able to meet up for coffee with a friend or giving their time weekly to donate with a local organization, generous people make themselves available to others.

3. Generous people don’t need recognition.

Generous people don’t need praise for their generosity. It’s such an integral part of who they are that it almost seems silly to be given praise. They don’t do it to be acknowledged or to make a big to do of their giving. In fact, most generous people fly under the radar when it comes to just how generous they are. What a breath of fresh air!

4. Generous people want to see impact.

While generous people may not want to be recognized for their giving, they do want to see that their giving is having impact. They want to know that the investment of their time, money, and resources is having influence on the missions they choose to support. They want to see a great return on investment so that they can keep being generous.

5. Generous people give sacrificially.

Perhaps the biggest habit of a generous person is that they are sacrificial. They don’t just give of themselves because it’s easy. They do with great sacrifice. Maybe that means waking up an hour early to mentor a kid, or missing out on happy hour once a month so that you can support a cause financially. Whatever it may be, generosity always comes with some form of sacrifice.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, so I want to hear from you! What do you think are characteristics of generous people? What have you experienced when it comes to generosity? Let us know!