Written by Fiona Higgins
Here are five tips from our Giving Services team to help make your giving simple, strategic and rewarding.
Follow the feels
We all crave confidence in the measurable social impact of our philanthropy, yet the heart drives so many giving choices. Metrics, impact frameworks and feedback loops are essential components of good giving, but rarely does ‘best practice’ trump passion-fuelled generosity.
As affirmed by Rachael Rofe, Head of the APS Foundation: ‘That it feels good is reason enough to give. Often the most rewarding gift is the one made when you entrust the gift freely to the organisation, and the feeling that generosity affords.’
Embed family interests
For families who give through a PAF or giving fund, honouring the motivations and interests of individual family members can be just as important as achieving tangible community impact. Family philanthropy can fuel lively discussions around the dinner table, act as the intergenerational ‘glue’ that binds families together, or help a growing or geographically far-flung family to focus on their common values, purpose and vision.
‘It’s family philanthropy,’ explains Antonia Ruffell, former CEO of APS, ‘and for many of our clients, the ‘family’ element is just as significant as the ‘philanthropy’ part. It’s okay to be motivated to give so that you can have rewarding conversations with your family in arriving at a decision.’
Honour community partners
Funding is just one of the many ingredients required to develop lasting solutions to society’s intractable problems. Often the other necessary resources sit well beyond the reach of philanthropy and it’s better not to go it alone. In seeking to make good giving decisions, it’s critical to listen to, and trust, the input of not-for-profits, subject matter experts, and those with lived experience of the problem or issue you’re seeking to address. The most productive partnerships occur when funders position their community partners and other collaborators – rather than themselves – at the centre of their decision-making.
Find some friends in philanthropy
The majority of APS clients are time-poor, yet manage their giving without the support of expert staff. It makes sense, therefore, wherever possible, to leverage the skills, expertise and learnings of others in the sector who are prepared to share their experience. Many of the large, longer-standing philanthropic foundations have highly skilled staff engaged in due diligence, research, community outreach, advocacy and capacity-building activities. These directors or advisors are more than willing to share their findings and ideas, suggest co-funding or other collective impact opportunities which can make your philanthropic dollar go further.
As Judith Fiander, chief executive officer of APS, notes: ‘If you don’t know an area or cause particularly well, but you can find someone else who gives in that area, then they will likely welcome a conversation and share what they know. It’s one of the great benefits of being in philanthropy – people are generally very open and willing to share their expertise for the common good.’
Connect with your APS community
If you’re interested in particular organisations or focus areas, chances are other APS clients are too. We’d be pleased to connect you with kindred philanthropic spirits within the APS community, or the for-purpose sector more generally. Just ask us for some relevant introductions.