Plan before you give. Create a working budget. I use annual and multi-year spending targets to answer three questions: (1) How much do I want to grant? (2) How much am I giving to any one organization or initiative? (3) For this time period, how close am I to meeting the target? By embracing this mindset, I hold myself accountable to spend my charitable dollars, as well as set priorities and weigh the tradeoffs of new opportunities.
Pick a few causes to support. To achieve impact, I have found a clear, narrow focus works better than spreading my money across multiple issues and topics. Focus can be created using many dimensions: geography, socio-economic status, topic, age, issue, institution, type of grant, etc.
Create a definition of success for each grant opportunity. I am a results-oriented person, who generally needs to know where I’m going and what I hope to achieve. (I should acknowledge that this approach may not be right for everyone.) To the extent possible, I internally have a reason for funding that includes why I might extend the grant and what I hope to achieve as a result of providing the dollars. This internal statement is informed by what my grantees can realistically achieve in the agreed-upon timeframe.
“Right-size each grant” knowing that larger grants work better. In general, when I am focused on impact, I grant between $50K-100K per organization. For most organizations, this enables them to start an initiative or hire a person to help start the work.
Where appropriate, give large, renewable, multi-year grants.
Read the full article about one donor’s giving strategy by Kathy Kwan at Medium.
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