5 Questions to Focus Your Giving & Make an Even Greater Impact
What Values Are Most Important to Me?
What am I deeply passionate about? What motivates me day to day?
Family, faith, or social causes may come to mind. Your life experiences may also drive your values and motivations. Think about how to align them with your philanthropy.
Where Can I Do the Most Good?
What causes don't get enough support? Where could my gifts make a bigger splash?
Get specific. Think about narrower aspects of a bigger cause or issue. You can also think more locally, finding smaller organizations that support those issues in your community.
Which Organizations Address the Issue(s) I Want to Support?
Which organizations are most effective at solving the problem(s) you want to address? How transparent are they?
Do your due diligence before giving. Whether you go with a new or established organization, focus on groups that know what they're doing — and that clearly tell you how your philanthropy will make a difference. Independent organizations such as Charity Navigator and GuideStar can help you identify organizations that use donations wisely.
What Exactly Do I Want to Donate?
How much money can I afford to give? What else could I give to support a cause or organization?
Beyond cash and your budget for philanthropy, consider other ways to donate. Appreciated assets, time, and your distinctive skills could all be valuable and impactful to the causes you care about.
What Does Success Look Like?
What changes do I want to see? What impact do I expect from my donations? How do I evaluate success?
Supporting a cause isn't always enough to make a real change in the world. You also need a clear vision of what success looks like to you. If you know what outcome you want to achieve, you can support an organization that approaches a cause in ways that mirrors your vision of success.