CEO, Philanthropy Ireland
Have you ever asked yourself ‘What difference is my donation making?’ or ‘Why am I making this donation?’. These are questions we are increasingly asking. By addressing these questions, our giving can be more strategic and contribute to real social change.
Strategic giving is not always about cash donations. We all have something we can contribute. We recognise the value of the three T’s of effective philanthropy; Time, Talent and Treasure. Whether volunteering time, sharing a skill or influence, or making a cash donation, we all have the potential to be philanthropic.
There are four questions we all should ask ourselves when approaching our giving strategically; Why do I want to give? What do I want to give to? What causes do I want to support? And, How do I want to give?
1. Giving while living
‘Giving while living’ describes the practice of donating your money, skills and time to make a difference during your lifetime. Famously associated with US billionaires, this approach can be applied by all of us, to gifts of any shape and any size.
There is real value in embracing the ‘giving while living’ concept for effective philanthropy. Therefore, it provides opportunity to address the many needs and challenges society faces today, and to see the impact of our giving. Many also use it to teach their children and grandchildren about the value of money, measuring impact as the return on social investment.
2. Drive for impact
It is this drive for impact that transforms reactive charitable giving into proactive, strategic, effective philanthropy. Whether donating a large amount, giving via direct debit, or throwing change into a bucket at the local supermarket, we can all be more alert to the impact our giving can make. In other words, giving in a strategic way can multiply impact.
3. Getting started on effective philanthropy
All effective philanthropy is personal. Take time to reflect on what you have to give; time, treasure, or talent. Consider your own values and key areas of concern. Decide how you want to give – you might want to discuss your options with family or friends for further guidance or to involve them.
Learn about the causes working on issues of concern to you. You might even decide that ‘giving while living’ is not an option and you would be more inclined to consider legacy giving. There are many ways to give well. In other words, take time to consider them.
Giving in Ireland will continue to evolve. For example, Planned gifts, small or large, can make a real difference to the cause you care most about. Planned giving has potential to tackle some of the most prevalent issues we face as a society.
By placing emphasis and focus on what you want your giving to achieve rather than just on the act of giving itself, you can multiply the impact of your gift.