August 16, 2022

Three Questions with Alison Morse, NPT’s New VP of Philanthropic Consulting

Author Alison Morse, Vice President, Philanthropic Consulting

NPT’s Philanthropic Solutions Group offers donors customized services to meet their giving goals. In recent years, the Group added a range of new services, including strategy development, individual and family coaching on giving, and curated research to help donors explore issues that are important to them.

NPT has invested in building out these services, and in April, Alison Morse joined the Philanthropic Solutions Group. As the Vice President of Philanthropic Consulting, she will lead the growth of this work to offer strategic solutions to donors. Alison comes to NPT with nearly a decade of experience in philanthropy consulting where she worked with leading U.S. foundations and many family philanthropies. Prior to working in philanthropy, she spent several years in the nonprofit sector, working both domestically and internationally on human rights issues.

We sat down with Alison to understand exactly what a philanthropy consultant does, how she approaches her work and how her team can help NPT’s donors fulfil their charitable vision.

Q: What exactly is Philanthropic Consulting?

To put it simply, the world of philanthropy is increasingly complex, and my job is to supply donors with the knowledge, tools and resources they need to make informed decisions about where, when and how to give.

That said, the word philanthropy to me—and to many donors I work with—can sound intimidating. I like to think instead about giving to improve the public good. When we think about how we as individuals or as a collective might want to improve the community we live in—or the planet we live on—there are an endless number of issues that could then be addressed. As a consultant, I can offer my expertise in several of these issue areas as well as conduct research and share relevant resources to help a donor in crafting a strategy or learning more about a given topic of interest.

However, giving is not just about the transfer of funds from a donor to a recipient. There is also a sense of purpose behind those funds; figuring out where to give, how to give and which organizations are leaders and change-makers can be challenging. In the United States, there are nearly 2 million registered nonprofits. Just saying that number is overwhelming. I am able to work with donors to define goals, identify giving interests and criteria, and then do the legwork to identify pathways for giving.

Q: What is your approach to consulting?

I approach my work in a few ways. First, I am a deep listener. I want to hear from donors in their own words where they are challenged, confused or energized. I can then offer options based on what may be the first step on a learning journey. Second, I am a knowledge-seeker, and so I’m continuously building my own knowledge and resources so that I can offer donors the freshest thinking from the philanthropy sector. Third, I think a lot about grantee partners. I spent my formative professional years in the nonprofit sector and I have tremendous respect for the work, hustle and perseverance of raising and sustaining funding. If you work with me, you’ll likely hear me talk a lot about building relationships with grantees.

Q: What can NPT’s Philanthropic Consulting offer donors?

I’m excited that NPT offers this service to our donors. We offer them the opportunity to think through a giving strategy, identify issues of interest and hone in on particular geographies or organizations. We can work with individuals, couples and families through online or in-person workshops to dive into specific topics. Or, a donor can suggest giving criteria that we then apply using our research methodology to identify opportunities for giving. The bottom line is that services are customized and will depend on a donor’s timeline, need, interests and budget.

Get in touch: For donors interested in reviewing or further developing their grantmaking strategies, Alison and the rest of NPT’s Philanthropic Solutions team are ready to help you help others. Contact us at (888) 878-7900 or with any questions.