Getting serious about philanthropy is like embarking on a voyage: It is exciting to explore your beliefs and aspirations, learn from experts and practitioners, and experiment with different types of grants and organizations.
But the journey can also quickly become overwhelming. The social and environmental needs are so great that it can be hard to know where to start! What’s more, the pressure to “do philanthropy really well” is higher if you’re giving very large sums of money and planning to give for a long time.
It’s important to realize that every philanthropic journey is different. You may be an experienced donor in one area while still exploring your interests in another. So it may be helpful to think of three broad stages for your philanthropy, with each stage containing a unique set of activities that will help you get the best results. We refer to these stages as exploring, experimenting and “swinging for the fences.”
Understanding why you want to give will help define how you want to give, including how personally engaged you want to be in your philanthropy.