January 15, 2016

Getting to Know You

How does your philanthropic journey begin?

How does your philanthropic journey begin? Maybe you heard an inspirational speech from a talented social entrepreneur, discussed a friend’s new idea for social change, or read about an exciting nonprofit’s work.

What happens next? Follow this journey of discovery to find an organization equally committed to the very same things that you are most passionate about. While great relationships can emerge from an instant connection, the process of selecting a nonprofit to fund should be both exciting and clear-headed. Much is at stake for both sides.

Some call this process “due diligence”: learning enough about the results, leadership, financials, and operations of an organization to make the right investment decision, while respecting the limited time of its busy leaders. As you learn about your potential grantees, a few questions are paramount: Does the organization’s mission align with your personal philanthropic goals? Is the organization well-positioned to carry out the proposed project? Can you work well together?

The best philanthropists take this learning process seriously—but also feel inspired and have fun along the way. To concentrate your time on the most important activities, please see "Nonprofit Due Diligence: Donor Decision Guide." It helps you tailor your approach, including a step-by-step path for basic as well as more intensive research, and tools like interview guides and checklists to support specific interactions.


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