Making a Difference Plans Your Legacy of Generosity

How will you make a difference and leave the world a better place? This question confronts us throughout our lives, from choosing how to expend our time and energy while we are young to deciding where to allocate our financial resources after we’re gone. A Making a Difference Plan is an intentional plan to help you positively impact the people and causes you care most about by focusing your time, talents and resources. You will learn how to go beyond being charitable and create a legacy of generosity by aligning your actions with your own passions and vision. You’ll inspire your loved ones to live compassionately by modeling your behavior, sharing meaningful activities together, and achieving tangible, beneficial results.

By modeling our behavior and living a generous
life, we inspire and teach the next generation to
live compassionately and to experience the joy of
knowing that we can each make a difference, at
every stage of our lives.

Why write a Making a Difference Plan?

Actively working to make our world a better place is one of the most important ingredients for living a meaningful, enjoyable and vital life. We aspire to this, but our intentions do not always become a reality. The immediate demands of jobs and family life can make it hard to get around to doing something “extra”, especially when those extra things are simply good intentions with no specific plan behind them.

In addition, we are confronted with innumerable worthy causes and requests for donations of time or money. Without having thought through where our own passions and priorities lie, how do we decide where to devote our limited resources? We can easily fall into one of these traps:

  • We simply respond to whatever organization is grabbing our attention at any given moment.
  • We scatter our resources among a myriad different causes without ever feeling a real personal connection to any of them.
  • Or we feel overwhelmed by competing demands and end up avoiding the whole issue.

Consciously developing and sharing a Making a Difference Plan helps clarify what matters most to you and where you want to focus your generosity. By committing your intentions to writing, you create a road map for living a purposeful life, and your plans and actions will have the greatest potential to leave a lasting impact. When your generosity endeavors are shared with your family, relationships are strengthened, and your values have the best chance of becoming deeply rooted through the generations.

What's in a Making a Difference Plan?

A Making a Difference Plan usually contains these elements:

1. An inspiring vision: A summary of how you and your family will make a tangible difference during your lifetime and beyond.

2. Motivations and influences: Your passions, your experiences that have led you to those passions, and why it’s important for you and your family to make a difference.

3. Your focus: Which organizations, causes, or opportunities you will devote time, talent, and/or resources toward serving.

4. Engaging your family: How you would like your family to be involved in your Making a Difference Plan during your lifetime and when you are gone.

5. Goals and actions: Identify the specific goals and actions you and your loved ones will engage in.

6. Closing statement: Words of love and inspiration from your heart to your family and future generations.

When would I write a Making a Difference Plan?

Since a Making a Difference Plan lays out your own priorities and plan of action, it can be helpful to write one at any stage of life. For example:

  • As a young adult, looking forward to starting a career but wanting to balance job demands with meaningful volunteer work.
  • When getting married, and working to prioritize what’s important to you as a couple.
  • When you have young children and wish to instill in them the value of working for good in the world.
  • At retirement, planning how you will spend your time in meaningful and fulfilling ways.
  • Late in life, to pass your legacy of generosity on to your children and grandchildren.

You might write a Making a Difference Plan that suits your abilities and aspirations while you are young, and later in life revise it as you accumulate experiences that shift your priorities, or need to adapt your goals and action plans to changing life circumstances.

Next Steps:

Real-Life Examples of Making a Difference Plans

How to Write a Making a Difference Plan

Preserving your Making a Difference Plan


If there is to be any peace it will come through being, not having.

— Henry Miller

See more quotes about Giving, Generosity, and Making a Difference