Understanding the purpose of your philanthropy helps guide decisions throughout your philanthropic journey. It serves as an anchor for your giving, which in turn can make giving easier, more joyful and more exciting. A key foundational step to reaching this understanding is to articulate your motivations for giving, reflect on your values and identify your goals.
- Motivations are the drivers behind why you want to give. Some examples of motivations for giving include wanting to act upon a sense of responsibility, receive recognition or create a legacy, or benefit from fiscal incentives.
- Values are your seminal truths. They shape our connections to one another and reflect our approach to life. You may have a wide range of values, and prioritizing a discrete number can be challenging.
- Goals are what you hope to accomplish with your philanthropy, and they influence the causes you support and the structure of your giving. Some examples include expanding access to quality public education or connecting with the next generation over discussions of current issues.
Engaging in this process has both internal and external uses. When it is done authentically, the understanding assists in distinguishing between opportunities to pursue. It facilitates weighing priorities and decision-making, grounds your strategic planning, and can hold you accountable as you engage in your philanthropy. It provides the foundation for establishing your focus and mission in this work.
Concisely defined motivations, values, and goals also help explain to the world why you give what you give. Such communication facilitates connections to potential collaborators, including other donors interested in similar causes, and offers insight to fundraisers trying to determine whether their work aligns with yours. Over the long run, it will save you time and energy and will benefit the field overall by helping others understand whether your goals are a fit with their initiatives.
This work is evergreen. You may draw on your examination of motivations, values, and goals—and periodically revisit and revise it—throughout your philanthropic journey. In the future, you and others participating in your philanthropy can look back, recognize how your giving has evolved, and continue iterating upon it.
Contact your wealth advisor to learn more.