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In part two of our Tenets of Impactful Giving Series, we explored the difference between proactive and reactive giving and why there is room for both. In this issue, we’re going to focus on perhaps the most critical part of our giving plan, which is to ensure we have goals and that they are outcome-directed. After all, isn’t making an impact really what philanthropy is all about? Read on to learn more and find out how to get started with two simple questions.

Ask Yourself the “Two W’s”
It helps to start by asking yourself two questions: “What?” and “Where?” By considering “What?”, we are asking ourselves about our vision for success. In other words, what will your headline be 5, 10 or even 20 years down the road? By considering “Where?”, we are asking ourselves what we want to focus on and pinpointing our interests. Do you want to focus on your local community or on a wider geographic area? Where is the greatest need and where do you think you will have the greatest impact?

Putting These Into Practice
Sometimes it’s good to play this out with a particular issue area, such as education which is a complex area. For instance, you could help students directly by providing scholarships for high-achieving high schoolers who lack financial resources. Or you could help an organization directly like a specific school offering them more brick-and-mortar support. You could also focus on a specific issue area or policy within the realm of education, for example, testing, curriculum or system and public policy – an example of that could be ensuring all children are ready for school by supplying funds to ensure the development of a preschool for your community or state.

Next Steps
As you can see, its critical to clearly define our goals and what we want our outcomes to be and that goes far beyond just identifying an issue area. Getting the “What?” and the “Where?” questions right are crucial to establishing a plan that maximizes the impact of our gifts.

Here are some other questions to help us choose where and how to lend our support:

  • Am I focused on the right area and the right organizations?
  • What other organizations or individuals are working on this problem?
  • What efforts have succeeded or failed?
  • What will it take to move the needle?

Bottom line, it is essential to translate your values into specific goals and outcome-directed focus areas, and to map out how to get from there to where you want to end up.

Looking for More Tips on Impactful Giving?
Stay tuned for part four of our Tenets of Impactful Giving Series on research vs. reality-based philanthropy and check out the rest of our series.

Want to talk to a philanthropic specialist?
Schedule a call with us here or reach us at 800-839-0054. Together, let’s #begiving.

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Gillian Howell

Gillian Howell

Head of Client Advisory Solutions