Smart Giving Q/A: We find ourselves writing a lot of checks at the end of the year but want to be more strategic. Where do we start?!

I applaud your desire to be more strategic, but I hope that you also feel good about what you have been able to do so far.  I am reminded of a quote from legendary tennis player Arthur Ashe: “Start from where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can do.”

Now that you have embarked on your philanthropic journey, you have an opportunity to learn from your experience. I would argue, in fact, that even the most sophisticated philanthropist should do that on a regular basis. 

So, start there: Take a good, hard look at your current giving, and be ambitious but realistic about what you can do in the future.  Try using the 6 W’s – that basic journalistic device – for both reflection and planning.

Each of the W’s involves many choices. There is no “right answer,” of course.  Philanthropy is a personal thing; you must decide what is right for you, and be prepared to reassess as time passes and circumstances change.

Here are some examples of the kinds of questions that you should ask yourself, as you look back and plan forward.

Smart Giving Questions – Some Examples

Examples 1

We will be exploring each of the 6 W’s in more depth in future newsletters, and looking at how they can help you formulate a coherent and – yes – strategic philanthropic plan.

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