It’s that time.
In this week’s New Yorker (Dec 23 and 30) – and maybe other publications as well - there’s a special advertising section: “Modern Giving: A Report on the New Philanthropy.” Its focus is on how to use wealth to inform giving. Fair enough. What in my view is missing - and what FFM/C is all about – is how to insure that your foundation’s giving will really matter – and that’s not just about managing and investing your money. Which of the charities you favor are really effective? Which will optimize your foundation’s generosity and how will you tell?
Over-all charities accrue almost 40% of their revenue in the year’s last quarter – and much of that comes right now in the few weeks before Christmas. For a foundation set up this year and just beginning its grant-making being focused and strategic is difficult at best and unlikely for many. Because new and emerging family foundations usually grow out of the donors’ previous relationships to one or several charitable organizations, perhaps the best and most obvious advice is to continue that support for the moment. Back the charities you know and perhaps allow or a few modest emotion-driven year end responses. That’s the fun part!
Time enough in 2014 to develop focus, strategy and discipline. Strategic planning need not be leisurely but should be deliberate, encouraging time for reflection, feedback and perhaps the inclusion of a few intended grantees. Transparency and inclusion should be a two-way street meaning that transactional giving tamps down the mystery of grant decision making building confidence and trust between foundation and charity. More than is ever admitted is the adversarial relationship that can sometimes arise between the interests of the major donor and those of the grantee.
Here’s to great giving!