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By opening a donor-advised fund (DAF), you’ve made an important commitment to charitable giving. DAF donors like you provide generous and regular funding to organizations making a difference in their communities and around the world. Your new DAF will help you support the organizations and causes that are most important to you.
Once you’ve opened and funded your DAF, you can recommend grants right away—but you may also want to take some time first to think about your personal philanthropic strategy. The suggestions below can help you reflect on the difference you want to make and develop your giving strategy.
You can also download these tips here:
Create a budget for the coming year and a plan for how you’d like your giving to ramp up over time—say the next three, five, or ten years, depending on your goals.
For the coming year, divide your giving into three buckets and assign an aspirational budget to each:
1. The causes you are personally committed to supporting
2. Responses to asks from family, friends and colleagues
3. Responses to the unexpected
Each December or January, review your annual giving to see how close you were to your targets. (If you give with NPT, you can click on your grant activity in GivingPoint to see all your giving for the year in one dashboard.)
There is no end to the important causes you could support. That fact can be overwhelming. Take it one step at a time. For now, you can have more impact if you zero in on just a few causes to start.
Take some time to reflect on the questions below. If you give with your family, have a dinner table conversation and ask these questions of each other. You can formalize your priorities in a DAF mission statement later, if you choose.
Think about whether there are particular places you’d like your funding to support. Your hometown or birthplace? Somewhere you’ve traveled? Or somewhere you’ve never been but, nonetheless, feel called to help?
Is there a particular group of people you most want to serve? Children under age five? Teens and young adults? People living with substance use disorders? Veterans? People returning from incarceration? People living in a specific community or facing a particular health challenge?
Have you found organizations that address the what, who and where of your charitable priorities? If not, do some research to see which organizations like-minded donors support.
There’s no better way to learn than by doing. You don’t need to have every detail of your philanthropic approach mapped out before you start recommending grants; in fact, making a few grants and learning from them can help you hone your strategy. Here are some considerations to support that learning:
The Philanthropist blog from NPT provides expert advice on what’s trending in philanthropy, why it matters and how NPT brings it all together. Here are some popular posts related to the topic of philanthropic strategy:
If you’re interested in further deepening your philanthropic engagement, or want to access philanthropic expertise, the Philanthropic Services Team at NPT can support you with customized research and guidance.
All fees for consulting services are payable directly from your donor-advised fund. Please contact the Philanthropic Services Team for further details at email@example.com or (888) 878-7900.