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

A well-thought out and considered strategy that will help ensure you are giving in a structured manner in a way that achieves the greatest impact and aligns with your values and capacity. When considering the best structure for your philanthropy, one will often be tempted to set up a private foundation from the outset. However, such a vehicle may not always be the most suitable solution, especially when only just commencing your philanthropy journey. Other options include direct giving, discretionary funds, Donor Advised Funds, corporate foundations, impact investing etc

Case Study: Big Bets Require Bold Commitments

The Tony Elumelu Foundation, a Nigeria-based Foundation is focused on building a vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystem in Africa. In 2014, its Founder and Chairman, Tony Elumelu, committed $100 million to create 10,000 start-ups in Africa through the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme. Each year, the Foundation identifies, trains, and mentors 1000 entrepreneurs who are supported with seed capital to grow their businesses. This programme was created based on findings of the Foundation’s in-depth study of entrepreneurship in Africa. Challenges and barriers to small business growth were researched and identified, and existing programmes and organizations were benchmarked to understand what had worked previously and what needed to be improved. This initial work was carried out under the direct leadership of the Founder who was engaged in reviewing in-house case notes and proposals. These components, along with the financial capacity of the philanthropist, all helped the organization to develop a framework for the programme and decide on the combination and amount of resources required to make a big impact on entrepreneurs in Africa. Not only are the selected entrepreneurs given a seed-investment, they also receive online entrepreneurship training, one-on-one mentorship from global mentors, and access to a pan-African business network.

Deciding what to give and how much, really depends on the complexity of the problem you are trying to solve. A realistic study of what it will take to achieve your goals and what you are willing to invest, will help you identify what combination and amount of resources are required to make long-term impact in a given focus area.

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