A framework for effective giving

"It is more difficult to give money away intelligently than it is to earn it in the first place."
- Andrew Carnegie, Scots American philanthropist

Effective giving involves making informed choices, being confident that your gift will make a difference, and being assured that your donation is an efficient use of your money and time.

While this framework and its key principles aim to help inform your giving decisions with objective analysis – that is, how you give – they are not intended to diminish the importance of your empathy and commitment – for instance, what motivates you to give in the first place. Indeed, good philanthropy successfully blends objectivity with compassion.

Following just a few key principles will help you to give effectively. 

Key principles
  • Give responsibly. Be knowledgeable about the causes and organisations you are supporting. Even if you do not have time to engage directly with the recipients of your gifts, read the evaluation reports and modify your giving programme as appropriate.
  • Understand the impact of your giving. Be confident that you are achieving your objectives. What impact do you seek? What impact do you have on the organisation and on its beneficiaries?
  • Seek advice. There are a variety of good and experienced sources who can advise you on your giving programme and on individual investments. These include professional advisory services as well as informal sources of support, such as family, friends and colleagues.

Guided by these key principles, the framework for effective giving guides you through a step-by-step process to create a charitable giving strategy that reflects your own motivations, interests, circumstances and objectives. This strategy in turn guides your selection of specific charities (or other recipients) for your philanthropic portfolio.

We wish to emphasise that there is no 'right' strategy or 'right' portfolio – it is a question of what matters to you, who you would like to involve, and how you would like to organise the decision-making process. Moreover, this framework aims to support you, as a guide and a stimulus, as you choose your own path to effective giving.

Figure 1: Framework for effective giving © Philanthropy UK

© Philanthropy UK