The Crux of Giving

From the so called first gilded age of philanthropy in the late 19th century right up until recently, philanthropists have tended to make their money and then give it away later on in life. You could say that there were two chapters in an individual’s life, the part where they made their money and then, when enough had been accumulated, the part where they started to give it away. Both were separate and, mostly, completely unrelated.

Philanthropists today however are becoming younger than ever before, tending to make their wealth at an earlier age and given it away at the same time. These modern philanthropists also tend to take a more holistic view of their social footprint, by seeing value in the impact that their business activities can have on society and the environment, by linking their companies directly to their philanthropic entities and by looking to manage their assets in a way that supports their vision of a better world.

In short, they recognize that their philanthropy in isolation can never be as successful as when all components of their lives come together.

When do I know that I have enough to start giving? How, and how much should I give?

Simply put, mission investments are investments made by philanthropists and their foundations that are not just about the financial return…

An endowment is seen as a powerful way to ensure long-term survival and sustainability of a non for profit organization ensuring a continuous, guaranteed source of income. 

When considering fundraising for your own philanthropic work, you need to think clearly about the reasons why you want to fundraise, what are the principal drivers?

Over and above the setting up of an endowment, as you consider aligning your investment and philanthropic objectives you will need to balance all components of your asset management strategy.

This involves numerous considerations. Ultimately the philanthropists’ budget depends on the amount available and what the philanthropist thinks is an appropriate amount to give, and the answer to both these questions is driven by her values.

The African Development Bank opened its first trust fund with a philanthropic donor four years ago and has since received tremendous support from a multitude of foundations. 

Within the act of philanthropy, motivation and values are key to the foundation of giving as they heavily influence the result and impact of philanthropic activities.

Many families are starting to experience a transfer of responsibilities to the next generation as well as many non-profits are also starting to see changes in the donor composition of their fundraising programs.