The way to ensure your philanthropy has maximum impact is to take an intentional approach.
Philanthropy requires ongoing commitment to ensure it’s having the desired impact – a commitment that can also be deeply rewarding on a personal level.
Ongoing reviews ensure that your philanthropy is achieving what you originally set out, particularly as the new year starts. Reviews should take a systematic approach that involves asking questions such as:
‘What kind of impact do I want my philanthropy to have this year?’ and ‘Am I granting to charities in the best way’?
Your Relationship Manager is a key support on this journey. They will meet with you and your successors face-to-face at least once a year to provide advice on areas including strategy, how to involve the next generation, and charities or causes that align with your values.
Equity Trustees Giving Consultancy can also help families examine their family values, giving style and preferred areas of focus. Some areas to consider include:
What are your core family values? How do they influence your philanthropy? Do the organisations you support reflect your personal or family values?
A great start to working this out for yourself – and for those in your family – is playing the online card game What Makes You Tick.
Your mission sets out what you want to achieve and how this reflects your values. It will allow you to define the goals you want to achieve with your giving.
How big is the problem and what will it take to resolve it? The bigger the problem, the more collaboration is required. Collaboration can occur between charities or philanthropists working towards a common goal.
What will you be accountable for? How much time, funds or influence are you prepared to commit to an organisation and are all stakeholders aware of this?
What will the community look like if you were to achieve your ultimate vision?
Are you open to new ideas and concepts or do you prefer a tried-and-tested approach? How big is the problem and what will it take to resolve it?
Funding can be flexible (directed towards natural disasters and global pandemics) or aimed at generating broader system change to tackle entrenched issues.
Multi-year funding (which often start at $5,000-plus a year) helps charities work sustainably without needing to frantically source alternative funds. Charities also require funding for their basic costs of operation, such as attracting talented employees.
How many charities should you support to maximise your impact?
You only have a finite amount of funds and dividing them between too many charities begins to dilute the impact of your contribution.
Is there a non-financial contribution, such as volunteering, you can make? Would organisations benefit from your expertise, networks or influence?
Choose your favourite charity or identify a cause that you would like to learn more about, and your Relationship Manager can organise a site tour or event.
For-purpose organisations love engaging with philanthropists and their major donors, explaining face-to-face and showing first-hand the work that their philanthropy enables.
How do you know if your giving has been successful? How do you know whether you’re getting better at the practice of philanthropy and maximising your impact?
Will a family member or trusted associate be available to make granting decisions for your legacy into perpetuity? Is now the right time to involve the next generation in discussions around philanthropy and giving?
Take the time to bring your family together and share with them why you embarked on structured philanthropy. This should include outlining your ambitions.
A Letter of Wishes can outline your ongoing plans. It also records the story of your philanthropy and can be shared with future generations.
Carefully considering these areas can help you engage in more purposeful philanthropy, while solidifying a framework that ensures your contribution will change lives.