Philanthropy Impact

Inspiring philanthropy and social investment across borders, sectors and causes

Your objectives

 

Highlights

  • Philanthropy is an incredibly personal matter and the impact and rewards tend to be greater when your giving is relevant to your own life.
  • Clear objectives provide you with a set of priorities to help inform your decision-making, and enable you to look back and assess the impact and success of your giving.
  • Once you have your objectives, you need to translate these into something practical and achievable that reflects your resources.
  • Objectives will evolve, and even change considerably, particularly if you are setting objectives for the first time. 
Read more about Your objectives

 

Through setting objectives, you will become clear about what you would like to achieve with your giving. This provides the starting point for working out how to make that vision come to fruition. Your objectives should reflect what is important to you and what is motivating you to give, and can be broader than simply choosing a cause to support. For some, their main objective is to improve their local community, whilst for others it’s about bringing together their wider family.

Clear objectives provide you with a set of priorities to help inform your decision-making, and enable you to look back and assess the impact and success of your giving.

Philanthropy is an incredibly personal matter and the impact and rewards tend to be greater when your giving is relevant to your own life—ie, when you are seeking to support something you really care about, rather than simply because you’ve been asked. To inform your objectives, it’s important to think about past experiences with your giving—what have you enjoyed, what have you found frustrating, what has held you back from giving more, what have you learnt most from? You should also think about your own personal beliefs and passions and shape your giving around those.

Everyone has different objectives for their giving, and these goals can be:

  • charitable – supporting specific causes that reflect your personal beliefs, experience and passions, such as helping disabled children lead more fulfilled lives or combatting climate change (see defining a focus);
  • personal – such as using your time productively after the sale of a business or passing on family values to the younger generation (see giving time, and family philanthropy); and
  • corporate - if you are thinking about your giving from a business perspective, you may have additional objectives ,such as  engaging your employees or strengthening the company brand (see corporate philanthropy).

Some donors find it useful to take this a step further and create a vision and mission statement setting out what they want to achieve. This can be for internal use to guide other trustees or family members, or for external use—for example to provide guidance to potential grantees or other funders (see mission and vision).

Objectives will evolve, and even change considerably, particularly if you are setting objectives for the first time. This is good as it reflects what you are learning about issues, what works and what you find rewarding. So remember that defining your objectives is an ongoing process and it advisable to revisit your objectives on a regular basis (see reviewing objectives).

Once you have your objectives, you need to translate these into something practical and achievable that reflects your resources. Your objective maybe to help ‘disadvantaged youth’ in your own city, but there will be a multitude of different ways to achieve that. What you focus on and how you achieve that will depend on a combination of your own beliefs (you may want to focus on tackling root causes rather than relieving symptoms, for example), your resources and your knowledge of what works best. This is laid out in the ‘developing a strategy’ stage of the framework.

It is important to set objectives for your giving so that you know what you want to achieve and whether you are achieving it. But you can also set specific objectives for organisations that you support—milestones that you want them to reach with your funding.  See charity impact evaluation.

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