Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tips on giving your money away

Last week the Beaufort Fund Committee distributed a quarter of a million dollars to Hampton, Jasper, Colleton, and Beaufort Counties. After watching a roomful of people work for three hours considering the pros and cons of various grantmaking options I learned....

1) Start a grantmaking committee, you will be amazed how much wiser they are collectively than you are alone. It does not have to be a large formal group. Get your entire family or a group of friends together, or join a giving circle like Women Making a Difference, a civic group or service organization like Rotary, The Exchange Club, or Kiwanis, or skip the formalities and just start a fund where you work as have Blackbaud, PigglyWiggly, and many other businesses large and small.

2) Visit each group you consider funding, not to figure out what is wrong with them but rather to understand what is right. In the end it is what is good that moves you. What is wrong can be, and will be, corrected. Take a friend on these site visits. They will see things that you might otherwise miss. Ask for the staff and volunteers for help in explaining to others why they should support the organization.

3) Give enough to make a difference, but give as broadly as possible. Look for organizations that have many donors even if they are just a start-up. Look for benefits beyond the obvious (such as service to the community) and consider how your giving will influence others to give.

What would you add to the list?

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