On Being an Informed Philanthropist

Giving money away wisely is as much about using your head as it is about using your heart. Informed philanthropists start with a passion and desire to effect change and translate that into smart practice through a process of planning, observation and the willingness to experiment and take risks. They take the time to learn about both best practices in philanthropy and the greater context in which their charitable dollars are being invested.

An informed philanthropist:

  • Seeks guidance from issue experts, charitable recipients and¬†advisors.
  • Selects the¬†most advantageous tools¬†to implement their giving.
  • Responds to community and organizational needs.
  • Looks for gaps and strategic opportunities in fields of interest.
  • Collaborates with peer donors and participates in learning communities.
  • Conducts due diligence on gift recipients.
  • Structures gift agreements that align with intent.
  • Evaluates the impact of their charitable gifts.
  • Reflects on personal values and experience to¬†develop a giving strategy.
  • Considers legacy.
  • Listens and asks questions.

The more actively involved a donor is in the learning process the more meaningful, the greater the impact, and the more personally satisfying their philanthropy becomes.

 Some Questions to consider:

  • Time parameters of your giving:
    • During your lifetime
    • After death
    • In perpetuity
    • Limited life or sunset
  • Tax advantages or requirements
  • Whether, and how to involve your family or others
  • What you don‚Äôt know