Creating Your Giving Mission Statement
Recently, I had the privilege of attending the Young Philanthropist’s Annual Summit and took away some great nuggets from an amazing session called “Give Back, Get Back” hosted by Sarah Holtzinger and Bailey Logan of Signature Family Advisors. Sarah and Bailey shared how they work with families on giving strategies that help define one’s personal giving mission statement so that their commitment is aligned with the values and outcomes which they wish to influence with their donations.
The term “philanthropy” traces its roots back to the Latin term for “the love of humanity.” In modern times, the word has become more narrowly defined as the “altruistic concern for human welfare and advancement, usually manifested by donations of money, property, or work.” To be a philanthropist is to be a human that is motivated to help make the world a better place. With so many incredible causes that need generous champions, how do you hone your search down to determine which cause is best suited for you to commit your time, treasure and talent?
Developing a philanthropic strategy starts with the following considerations:
- Purpose – What purpose are you hoping to achieve? Do you want to invest in the annual operating budget, into new programs or perhaps into a long term capital investment special project, such as a new building?
- Geography – Do you feel more connected to NPOs that are local, regional, national or global?
- Obligation vs. Passion – How do you connect to the mission? Do you feel a sense of obligation or is this more of a passion that you wish to nurture?
- Recognition – Do you wish to be recognized for your contribution, and perhaps become a champion who leads and challenges others to give, or do you wish to remain anonymous?
- Involvement – How deeply would you like to be involved in the organization? Do you want to donate your time as a volunteer, your treasure as a donor, your talent as a board/committee member, or any combination of these three commodities?
- Impact – What kind of impact are you hoping to make? Would you like to see your investment impact the community directly, create transformation, or even help to seed a new mission that serves a community that is not currently served in the charitable universe?
Now, that you’ve taken the time and effort to determine “why” and “how” you want to give, you can take those components and craft your personal giving mission statement. For example:
“I wish to help local veterans successfully transition out of the military by funding programs that provide job support services. I believe it is our obligation to help those who have sacrificed so much and that helping them to find their next career will deliver the most enduring impact.”
“I will give to organizations that are doing cutting-edge cancer research in honor of my mother’s life long work as a cancer researcher. I will give in this area across the United States and will focus on organizations that can report their progress periodically.”
“In honor of my daughter, I will give to early childhood programs in my local community, so that all children can arrive at Kindergarten ready to learn. I will give of my time by volunteering to read to children, give of my talent by participating on committees focused on early childhood development at a local organization, and support the same organization by donating my treasure.”
Taking the time to be intentional about your involvement will help to make you feel much more aligned with the mission of the organizations you choose to support, which will then help to deepen your connection to the community that is positively impacted.