Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Philanthropy is commonly known as the act of giving away money to charitable causes. But for those who are lucky enough to pursue philanthropy full time, it is a well known fact that philanthropy is a much more involved process than simply writing a cheque. It is a deeply personal process that forces donors to ask themselves: “What cause am I most passionate about?” and “How can I make a difference?” To the uninitiated, this can be a daunting task, and that’s why The Bridgespan Group has launched, a website designed to help donors make the most of their philanthropic gifts.

In addition to the website, a supplementary book titled Give Smart: Philanthropy that Gets Results by Thomas J. Tierney and Joel L. Fleishman has been published to further help guide philanthropic donors in their endeavours. I had the honor of meeting Thomas last week while in San Fransisco. Something he said really resonated with me as it was what I have been feeling. He said that many donors feel that giving of their time and expertise is more important than money. This is not to say that the money is not important, it is very important, but to me money absent the connection to the heart, absent the connection to passion, absent the connection to purpose, risk being transactional and not transformational. Since I have made that connection of passion to purpose to expertise to money, it has made my giving so much more meaningful and I believe, impactful.

Give Smart asks six essential questions:

1) What Are My Values and Beliefs?

2) What is “Success” and How Can It Be Achieved?

3) What Am I Accountable for?

4) What Will It Take To Get The Job Done?

5) How Do I Work With Grantees?

6) Am I Getting Better?

In answering these questions, donors are given the tools needed to start their philanthropic journey, make a difference in the charitable interests about which they are passionate, and hopefully help them to change the world for the better.

Jacki Zehner and Laura Moore

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