February 12, 2016

Setting Your Philanthropic Strategy

This article is part of Give Smart - Philanthropy That Gets Results. For other sections, see the bottom of the page.

Six Questions That Can Guide You to Philanthropy Success
Philanthropy is truly complex, and you will likely face difficult choices and obstacles along the way. Getting clear on your answers to these six questions can help.

Six Pathways to Enduring Results: Lessons from Spend-Down Foundations
If you've decided to sunset your philanthropy, you'll still want to create lasting effects. Here are six paths to doing so and advice on choosing which works best for your goals.

Pam Omidyar and the Science of Giving
Pam Omidyar's philanthropic work—including founding or co-founding the Omidyar Network, HopeLab, and Humanity United—demonstrates how she has turned her passions into social change.

Defining What Philanthropic Success Means to You
A personal definition of success will provide a focus for your work, convey the boundaries of your giving, guide those supporting you, and determine the path forward. Here's how to develop yours.

Which Legal Structure or Structures Should I Use to Give My Money Away?
This guide lays out the range of options for structuring your philanthropy, and offers the pros and cons of each option.

Impact Investing: Should Philanthropists Consider It?
Impact investing offers donors the option to invest for profit while also supporting a social cause. This guide will help you think about whether impact investing might be for you.

Five Traits of Adaptive Philanthropists
In today's uncertain and constantly changing world, many philanthropists find that embracing a more flexible, responsive approach yields greater results.

Should I Give Anonymously or Publicly?
Whether or not you "go public" is a matter of strategy and personal style. Ask yourself, given the change you want to see in the world, what’s the right approach?

Decision-making in Family Foundations
Achieving results demands clarity about how decisions are made, and the discipline to make them within the context of your theory of change—even when family relationships are involved.

How to Think About Your First Hire
Your first hire represents a new stage in your philanthropy, and sets it in a new direction. It is, simply, the most important staffing decision you will make. What can help you get it right?

More than Money: Executive Summary (The Center for Effective Philanthropy)
As a donor, you have more than just a check to offer the organizations you fund. But how do you decide what that "more" should be?

Monday Morning Checklists

How can you tell whether you’ve wrestled with a philanthropic question sufficiently to move on? If you can check many of these markers off your Monday morning to-do list, then you’re probably well on your way to giving smart!



Addressing Childhood Obesity
Risa Lavizzo-Mourey discusses her approach to a complicated problem.

Breakthroughs in Education Reform
Barbara and Pitt Hyde worked for years to create “overnight success.”

Provide Tools to Grow
Neeru Khosla believes in providing opportunity, not enabling dependency.

Impact in Social Entrepreneurship
Bill Draper invests in the best social entrepreneurs, not a particular cause.


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The Bridgespan Group would like to thank the JPB Foundation for its generous and ongoing support of our knowledge creation and sharing work.