Humans are tool-making animals and the point about tools is that they augment human power. In the case of philanthropy what we need are tools that increase the good that individuals can do. This concept underlies the development of the new Philanthropy Toolkit by Perpetual and the team at Stanford University’s Centre on Philanthropy and Civil Society (Stanford PACS).
One reason for the development of the Perpetual/Stanford toolkit was the paradoxical fact that many people who are highly successful find it harder to give their money away than to make it in the first place.
A toolkit whose time has come
Firstly, there are questions about who to give to. There are always ‘competing’ causes that could do with your help. So which ones do you choose?
Then there are questions about how to give. Should you support individual charities or should you fund your own foundation? How do you know what the right amount is? How can you balance ‘reactive’ philanthropy – say supporting locked-down communities during the Covid crisis – with philanthropy which is long-term and ongoing?
Here in Australia we’re watching a major wealth transfer, with one trillion dollars moving between generations in the next three years. We know that philanthropy, done well, can bring families together as well as underpin long-term support for NFPs. But getting agreement on family philanthropy: the kind of giving, the amount, the responsibilities within a family, can be fraught. Unless you have the right tools.
Many would-be philanthropists want to give to organisations tightly aligned to the causes they care about and to efficient organisations that will deliver over an extended period. “It’s not just new philanthropists who face this uncertainty,” says Caitriona Fay, Managing Partner in the Community and Social Investment team at Perpetual Private. “Even experienced philanthropists will sometimes feel they just don’t know enough about what’s happening at the organisations they support. Ideally they’d know more about how to assess NFPs – and how to better track their own giving.”
Give you the tools and you can do the job
The Perpetual/Stanford Philanthropy Toolkit helps individuals and families across all the situations outlined above. As the name suggests, the toolkit is far more than a source of information. It's a series of tools that help you make decisions about philanthropy and act on your ideals with more conviction.
The toolkit includes conversation guides and checklists across six distinct sections (see below) so you can get help in the specific areas that matter to you.
Families and individuals can use the toolkit themselves or in consultation with trusted advisers such as accountants and financial planners. The toolkit also contains a section on how to work with other philanthropists to maximise impact, learn from others and build a network of like-minded givers.
- A guided worksheet in Section One helps you clarify the values that should drive your philanthropy.
- In Section Two a guided checklist helps you collaborate with other donors
- See Section Four for interactive worksheets you can use to decide on your total philanthropy budget – and how you allocate money between reactive and proactive giving and the different causes you’re interested in.
- The due diligence worksheet (Section Five) is a sophisticated framework you can use to assess the quality of the organisations you're thinking of supporting.
Shaping better philanthropy
We shape our tools and afterwards our tools shape us,” is a quote often attributed to Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan. A car is a tool that moves us from place to place. But that tool then shaped our society – how we work, holiday and socialise. How we build our homes and our cities.
Perpetual and Stanford developed the toolkit to make philanthropy immediately simpler and more effective. “Our hope is that over the longer-term the toolkit will change the way individuals, families and their advisers do philanthropy,” says Caitriona Fay. “Leading to philanthropy that is more methodical, sophisticated and effective - yet easier and more enjoyable.”
Want your copy?
Click on the button below for your free copy of the Perpetual/Stanford Philanthropy Toolkit.