Giving Resolutions 2/5: Give Better, Give More Strategically
September 8th, 2015 by Jennifer Hu Corriggio
In continuing with our series on “giving resolutions” to inspire your current philanthropic habits, our second suggestion is for you to find ways to give better and more strategically. What does that mean? There are of course an infinite number of ways to improve your personal philanthropy, but here are a few straightforward and simple ways to start:
- Develop a written giving plan. In Resolution 1, we challenged you to give more, and also stated that before you determine how much more to give, you may want to more carefully examine your giving habits. This includes drafting a giving plan. It doesn’t have to be a perfect version, and can be revised as needed. The process of creating the plan will be productive for reflecting upon what you want to accomplish, what your priorities are, and what inspires you about your giving. Tracy Gary’s book Inspired Philanthropy, Creating a Giving Plan and Leaving a Legacy is a great resource to help you get started. We also have a Simple Giving Plan Template on our Giving Communities website that can help guide you through some giving priorities.
- Identify your giving style. In developing your written giving plan, you might want to consider your giving style. Our Giving Style quiz can help direct you: www.wisergiving.org
- Talk with others. Have five conversations with people over the next year to discuss your giving. Discussing your giving with others will help you reflect upon your habits and goals and often lead to realizations of what you want to do next with your personal giving. You could seek your friends’ or peers’ feedback, and solicit their thoughts on whether you are going about the best ways in making the impact or difference you desire. Our Giving Communities web portal – www.givingcommunities.org can also offer you suggestions for finding a group of like-minded peers.
- Evaluate and make changes as needed. Sometimes you give to a certain group out of habit. You could take the opportunity to re-evaluate whether these groups still fit your funding priorities. If you find that your funding priorities have changed, you may consider changing your funding to that group, either by lowering your funding or discontinuing your funding all together. Of course, if your funding has been substantial, be sure to consider the impact your reduced giving will have on their budget. The organization would greatly appreciate a note or conversation informing them why you’ve decided to stop supporting them.
- Focus in on groups you choose to support. If you decide to refocus your giving by discontinuing to fund groups that no longer fit within your funding priorities you will have the opportunity to focus in on groups to which you are really committed. We discussed giving more in Resolution 1, but another idea to give more strategically is to remove restrictions to your gifts. Nonprofit organizations truly appreciate it when donors trust them enough to allot their funding as the organization’s leadership sees as their greatest need. You could also make a multi-year gift to an organization to which you are truly committed.
There are many ways to give more strategically, but these are just a few ideas to kick-start your own ideas! Good luck and let us know what worked for you.