Philanthropic Portfolio


Should you target just one or two philanthropic priorities, where you believe you can make a tangible difference? How much should you invest in other causes you care about? How much of your philanthropy ought to be strategic?

Charles Collier, Harvard’s senior philanthropic advisor, offers one way for you to begin thinking about how to make decisions about your philanthropic portfolio. He tells his clients to “write down every institution that they gave money to last year and the amounts that they gave. Then, he advises them to divide those donations into three categories: social or obligation giving; passionate giving (which may include payback to educational institutions or hospitals); and finally, strategic giving. In many cases, wealthy clients find that they give the most money to the first two and realize that they don’t have a thoughtful, long-term strategy for dedicating part of their charitable money to affect real change in society.”

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