I am a leader who gives.
I was always this way but I was also trained to do it. You may know that I spent a decade working in philanthropy. My job was to make recommendations about who should receive funding based on alignment with our foundation’s priorities and demonstrated impact. However, long before I worked as a grantmaker, I was a philanthropist.
My earliest memory of giving was in church. Then it was volunteering. And finally, once I was in college it was making a donation to a university campaign in support of the Crusade for Black Children with the Children’s Defense Fund. Giving is one way I demonstrated my leadership. Many Black folks I know do not consider themselves to be a philanthropist. For some reason, the term ‘philanthropy’ has been seemingly earmarked for the wealthy. I disagree. I want us to claim our place in the giving landscape of this country because as much attention as we get on our spending, we get much less shine for our giving.
If you want to amplify your giving profile, here are my top recommendations:
- Monitor your giving. If you’re like me, you may have small-dollar donations being automatically deducted from your checking account each month. You also probably donate to someone’s tuition, books, and back-to-school supplies in the fall. Then you donate to the burial fund of friends or family. Oh, and don’t forget about that check you write each year to support your family church.
- Categorize your giving. What are the ‘buckets’ that you give to? Faith. Education. Arts. etc. Do these buckets align with the things you care about? Are you satisfied with the way your giving is split between the buckets?
- Prioritize your giving. Now that you know where you’re giving. Think about which categories are most important to you and why. This is a good way to understand your giving priorities; the things that motivate you to give. Can you multiply the impact by putting more intentionality behind your giving?
- Align your giving. Are you giving to the groups led by people closest to the problems you are hoping to help better? Or, are you defaulting to the organizations that are popular and often whiter, wealthier, and larger? If you look at the leadership of the organizations you give to, are those folks leaders of diverse experience and culture?
- Consider your giving. Giving is more than writing a check. As much as causes you care about want your check, they also value your time and professional expertise. A few hours a month of your time could be the difference between an organization staying small and building capacity to generate larger dollars. Let your talent help springboard groups you care about to the next level.
Now that you’ve done an initial analysis, fill out this worksheet I’ve created to help you become a leader who gives.