Nonprofit Expert
The Story of Generous Joe
Home » Nonprofit Questions & Answers » The Story of Generous Joe

The Story of Generous Joe

As strange as it might sound Generous Joe is really concerned and confused about what he should do with all the money he has made and inherited. He has amassed quite a sum and he is not getting any younger. As the old saying goes, “You can’t take it with you!” Yet, despite what some might think, Joe has yet to see a hearse pulling a U-haul.

After all the struggles of life it just doesn’t make sense that in making your final plans on how to settle your estate it should be this hard! All the professional advice and legal loop holes trying to keep that distant relative Uncle Sam out of the picture still has left Joe wondering what he should leave his friends, family members and even to some of the nonprofits he has supported over the years.

Joe is one of those guys driven by a combination of logic and deep feelings. He is a softy at heart and is generous with the money to a fault. However, he tends to look at the pattern of others behavior when making smaller gifts and consciously judges not only the reaction of how the money is accepted and appreciated but also what choices are made with that money when it is actually spent.

Regardless of the circumstances when it comes to Joe helping someone the last question in his mind always defaults to: Am I really helping this person or am I just being a facilitator of bad judgment? While this might appear harsh to some that don’t know Joe he would assure you that this is based on his real life examples that he can point to over and over again.

He knows more than most that many people live their life by crisis and honestly hope that their “crisis of the moment” will also becomes yours as well. Especially if you are someone that is willing to help!

For Generous Joe this often times surfaces as a person asking for money to help pay a bill or get them out of a jam that they worked themselves into. Joe realizes everyone needs help at some point but for others it is more of a lifestyle choice rather than a tragic unexpected event.

When a crisis occurs close friends and/or family members are generally open to pleas for help and for the most part honestly don’t mind helping. However, while people like to think in their mind they can give a gift that comes with no strings attached, the reality is everyone has a tendency to closely view the future actions of these individuals because when we give money to someone we are making an investment in that person. Naturally we want to feel that our choice was a good one.

Unfortunately for Generous Joe he finds himself being disappointed again and again because it seems that the pattern of behavior that got the person in trouble in the first place hasn’t changed. Nor will it change, unless the person wants to or is forced to change.

Example: Joe has a friend named Vicky and he hated to see her struggling and constantly being so stressed out. He wanted to help and saw Vicky was always in a constant crisis and never had enough money to pay her bills. She owed a ton of money on her credit card bill, her car insurance was due, she had not paid her property taxes for several years on the trailer her parents had given her and her phone was disconnected again. She had borrowed all the money she could from her parents and they could not help anymore. She had been out of work for two weeks before finding another job but her world seemed to be collapsing around her, and she was constantly crying and depressed. Joe sat down with Vicky to assess her situation and added up all her outstanding bills and wrote checks to everyone she owed to wipe out all her debt. Within a year she was back in the same situation! How could this be?

Vicky’s freedom was short lived because she had never lived without debt and no one in her family had ever been debt free. Being out of debt had no meaning or value to her and she always had a wish list in her mind. Shopping was not based on her need but on her wants and she wanted it all! Her only concern was how much was the monthly payment not what it actually cost. Since Joe took away all her payments she was free to start over. Most are not as lucky as Vicky to have someone willing to step in and be that generous. Yet, unfortunately this story has repeated itself over and over again for Joe to the point where he no longer feels as compassionate as he once did.

For Joe family is important and he has plenty of nieces and nephews he could shower with wealth but he can’t help but wonder will that just poison them in the long run. Being spoiled is one thing but being out of control is another.

Finally Generous Joe enjoys being involved in the community with various nonprofit organizations. Last year Joe gave away thousands of dollars to charity but this too felt hollow because none of the groups he supports go much further than to send a receipt and sometimes that doesn’t even happen.

It is easy to see how Generous Joe can get jaded yet for whatever reason he hasn’t given up quite yet.

To date Joe has given away over seven hundred eighty one thousand dollars with planned gifts of over a million dollars. Maybe one day soon Joe will find the answer he is looking for, but until then, it wouldn’t hurt for you to look over your donor list to see if you can find your own Generous Joe and make sure he or she feels appreciated.

DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide legal or accounting advice, or to address specific situations. Please consult with your legal or tax advisor to supplement and verify what you learn here.