Year–end fundraising appeals are starting to appear in my mail box and probably in yours too! We are approaching the most lucrative time of the year for donations from individuals. So many appeals, what do you do?
This fall I heard a talk given by Diana Tyler, of Arabella Advisors, at a program sponsored by GiveArlington, a giving circle. She spoke about how to create a personal philanthropy statement. It is a process she uses to help individual donors create a giving strategy. During a series of conversations and discussions, they explore topics such as:
- What issue/problem do you want your donation to alleviate?
- How can you focus your giving around your values and passions?
- Who makes the philanthropic decisions in the family?
- Where do you start? Where is the intersection between your passion, your resources and what else is out there?
- How do you choose between the endless number of charities: by an organization’s statistics or accomplishments, or by what excites you?
- How do you put your plan into action?
- Do you plan for your giving to extend into the future?
These and other questions can generate lively discussions and soul-searching within individuals, families, and in communities. It is similar to a foundation trying to set guidelines. A quick search on Google reveals a number of articles on this issue. For example, Mario Morino, noted philanthropist, has a thoughtful post on this topic.
Will thinking through the above questions help your year-end giving decision-making process be less painful? Perhaps, but our desire to support each and every one of the worthy nonprofits who send us year-end appeals is not likely to completely disappear!If you have other thoughts about the usefulness of personal philanthropy statements, we’d love to hear them.