Food for Thought
Words to the Wise: Five Tips for Strategic Giving

September 19, 2017

You’ve worked hard and are now in a position to make a significant charitable donation. How do you decide what difference you want to make in the community? Here are five tips to help you be strategic and impactful:

1. Make It Personal: There are thousands of nonprofits in South Florida. Make sure you support organizations that best align with who you are and what’s important to you. Start by thinking about your values and how you would like to change the world. This ‘look in the mirror’ approach will help focus your giving. That way, you’ll make a real impact on the causes that inspire you.

2. Do Your Homework: You should know that the organizations you support operate effectively – and with integrity – before you give. Read annual reports, financial audits and organizational 990s. Request data that shows the organization’s impact, review budgets and goals, look for evidence of an engaged Board of Directors, and have conversations with the leadership team. This will give you a clearer picture of the nonprofit and its ability to deliver lasting results.

3. Know Your Impact: Giving is wonderful, but knowing your impact is priceless. So don’t hesitate to ask nonprofits to provide detailed reports that describe exactly what they’ve accomplished with your gift. Make it clear that you expect regular, personalized status updates. And don’t forget to ask about site visits that enable you to see your philanthropy in action.

4. Think Big: Consider collaborating with other like-minded philanthropists if you want to tackle major community issues. For example, it could be overwhelming to think about how you – alone – can help the large number of Broward families struggling to become economically independent. But the possibilities are endless when you partner with other philanthropists who share your goals. Through these connections, and a collaborative strategy, you can create meaningful change on larger issues.

5. Consider All Your Giving Potential: It’s important to know the many ways you can make a difference beyond writing a check. Start by consulting your professional advisor or estate attorney. They can help determine your current giving potential and explore ways to grow your philanthropy – even after you’re gone. This includes looking at your total assets, like stocks, real estate, businesses, life insurance and retirement plans, and thinking about how to use them to make a huge difference on an issue that’s special to you.

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