Financial Literacy Makes for Strategic Philanthropy

Money ImageStrategic philanthropy involves conceiving of a giving plan, developing a philanthropic mission, identifying grantees and measuring the effectiveness of giving.  The key for donors appears to be that they first discover what they most want to affect with their giving—the desired result.  (Barimo, Steve, Kirby Rosplock and Jill Shipley 2010, “The 25 Best Practices of Multi-Generational Families”, GenSpring Family Offices.)

Giving money away has such an emotional component to it that it’s hard, sometimes, to think about it in strategic terms. But the truth is that if donors pay as much attention to their giving strategy as to their investing one, they can have more impact and fund more of the organizations they care about without getting sidetracked by requests. (

Providing donors with a chance to become financially literate and to learn about creative giving plans and strategic philanthropy will cause them to feel that they are best expressing their voices, legacies and visions in their giving. As GenSpring Offices points out, “There is a tremendous change that occurs in a family once they have clearly defined their wealth objectives and agreed on a strategic plan to accomplish them. In terms of their family wealth, they increasingly move from being reactive and defensive to proactive and visionary. “(Barimo, Steve, Kirby Rosplock and Jill Shipley 2010. “The 25 Best Practices of Multi-Generational Families”, GenSpring Family Offices.)

As Tom Tierney, chairman of the Bridgespan Group, which advises both philanthropists and nonprofits, says,Whether you’re giving $1 million or $1,000, ask yourself, ‘What do you want to achieve with it?’ For most folks $1,000 is a bigger deal than $1 million is for Bill Gates.” (

It is important, then, for donors to learn the strategies, tactics and tools of giving, such as selecting and using appropriate giving vehicles, managing tax and financial matters, reviewing proposals, researching an issue or group, asking good questions, evaluating nonprofits, and measuring impact.


Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  Annino recently released an updated version of her successful book, Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning to include recent changes in the laws that govern how we protect our assets during and beyond our lifetime.  To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit,


  1. I love this concept of giving donors the same tools we give ourselves in order to be thoughtful and strategic with our financial and other planning. And helping our supporters to consider this as an investment is truly the key to building and sustaining long-term relationships. Nice post!

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