2 DEVELOPING A STRATEGY
Once you've set your aims and objectives, you need to translate these into a practical and achievable plan or giving strategy. This will be shaped by whether you want to tackle the root causes or alleviate the symptoms, the resources available to you and your knowledge and experience of what works best.
When developing a strategy, you should consider the following:
What is my focus area?
‘Health’ is a huge area, so you should think about your target demographic and/or one particular problem you want to help solve. The clearer your focus, the bigger the impact your strategy will have.
If you have an interest in many diverse areas, or as a family you can’t decide which to support, you could consider focusing on one cause per year or having multiple strands specific family members take the lead on.
What types of organisations do I want to support?
Are you looking to support a small but innovative charity which is just getting started, or an established one which has effective programmes in place but needs more funding? Consider your appetite for risk and how you may want to create a balanced portfolio of activity from high to low risk. Research the organisation’s Trustees and senior staff to get a better handle on its governance as well as the impact that organisation has had for a demonstration of how effective it is.
What kind of funding can I offer?
Depending on your strategy, you may want to give a one-off grant, staggered funding over a number of years (multi-year funding) or ongoing support through social investing. You might also consider non-financial assets as investments in your chosen organisations, for example volunteering your skills or time, making introductions between the charity and influencers in your social or business network or opening up data and/or intellectual property (IP) that you may have access to.
What kind of philanthropist do I want to be?
If you have privacy concerns around the use of your personal information, you should decide whether you’re happy for beneficiaries to have your name and address or if you’d prefer to remain an anonymous donor. Ask yourself whether you’d welcome further requests for donations from your charities. Do you have brand equity that, if used well, could drive more support for the causes you care about?
How involved do I want to be?
It’s worth thinking about how involved you want to be with your cause. Do you want to provide hands-on support, act in an advisory capacity or are you happy to remain a hands-off, occasional observer? Do you want to get your friends and family involved with your giving or ask your business network to lend their time and skills?
There's no definitive answer to any of these questions, but you can use these points to help clarify your preferences and provide you with a clear understanding of your level of involvement.
What impact do I want to see?
Consider your philanthropy as an investment. What growth in size and impact do you expect to see from your cause over a certain time period? What measurements do you want to put in place? How does the organisation you’re supporting evaluate its success? Be realistic in terms of how you want to be informed of progress; a smaller charity may not have the resources to send you regular personalised updates, but they may have a website where they keep donors updated with news.