Context Magazine

The philanthropy fixer

Edition 3 - The global issue

We talk to Rebecca Eastmond of Greenwood Place about how to develop a giving strategy.

What should individuals and families consider if looking to develop a philanthropy strategy?

Rebecca Eastmond (RE) Start with your values and what you care about. These questions are particularly helpful: What really makes you angry or sad about the world? What would you like to fix? What would you like to see more of and encourage?

Also think about how much you want to give because that will influence where your money will go to make the most impact.

How might people go about building a strategy and identifying organisations to support?

RE The next step is to do some research. See what issues are out there and start to map out what is happening, what is being done and where the gaps are. Then talk to experts to test what you’ve learnt – in philanthropy, people are happy to talk because everyone is on the same side.

Then, quite early on, start making some gifts as testers as you start to understand the area. You can get to know those charities while being clear that you are not yet making a long-term commitment.

What are the biggest challenges or obstacles for new philanthropists?

RE You must enjoy it – if it feels like a chore, then it is not the right cause for you.

Often people give to causes based on requests from friends and they don’t know whether their gifts have done any good. You need to spend time understanding an organisation before you donate, see what their plans and milestones are, then check in on those plans to measure progress.

How has the range of giving opportunities changed over time and what are the biggest areas of focus right now?

RE Many of our clients are looking at their whole wealth now and seeking to make a difference through their investments as well as their philanthropy. The range of opportunities to leverage capital has got much broader.

Five years ago, very few of our clients gave to issues around biodiversity or climate change, but that has altered. Still, the majority of our clients start with people and look to support others who have not been as fortunate.

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