Defining Engaged Philanthropy
Engaged philanthropy can take many forms because it is ultimately specific to a funder's philosophy, goals, and structure, as well as its financial and organizational capacity. This is true whether the funder is an individual, family, corporate donor, nonprofit organization, private foundation, or operating foundation.
To engage more deeply with their nonprofits' work, The Business of Good Foundation recommends that funders adopt and apply a set of measures, desired outcomes, and mutual expectations with prospective partners. In order to help develop functional relationships and continuously evaluate changes, you as a potential engaged philanthropist should consider the following:
- Do your philanthropic efforts engender real excitement and commitment from the people within the nonprofit you hope to serve?
- Are the mission of the nonprofit and your personal values and objectives closely aligned?
- Do you sufficiently understand the problem areas that give rise to the charitable causes you have chosen to support, so that you can really evaluate how best to help?
- When you decide to support a charitable cause, are you selecting the best method of support, after full consideration of your skills, experience, or relationships?
- Can you offer more than just monetary support?
- Once you have initiated a philanthropic relationship with an organization, are you able to develop the right lines of communication between you and the nonprofit, to maximize the possibility of a meaningful and successful partnership?
- How can you create a “safe” and frank relationship with the nonprofit, where both are open to honest dialogue and problem solving that are not unduly influenced by your financial contributions?
All of the aforementioned is designed to ensure that you as a funder meet your objectives, leverage resources to their greatest effect, and forge mutually beneficial relationships with your nonprofit partners.
If you are a current or aspiring engaged philanthropist, feel free to contact our founder, Tim McCarthy. Our experiences and consulting will be shared without expectations of any kind.