Understanding where you want to go with your philanthropic giving, best begins by understanding where you’ve been. The Philanthropic Audit is a vital and necessary component in leading to the understanding of a philanthropic identity and ultimately building a philanthropic plan. The audit process will include a comprehensive review and analysis of the complete charitable giving history to provide a baseline for understanding what has been achieved in the past; motivational assessment to identify the primary motivators; and a thorough risk and mitigation assessment to identify the barriers and obstacles that need to be addressed and mitigated moving forward.
Success in philanthropy is ultimately tied to how closely it matches your own philanthropic identity. No one size fits all, and this process will reflect on and define your philanthropic identity. What types of engagement interests you? For what causes? How would you define your philanthropic mission, vision, values and goals? What are the fundamental issues at stake, and how can your philanthropic identity connect you to potential beneficiaries through the outcomes your philanthropy can deliver? The assessment will assist in identifying and articulating the values you wish to perpetuate as a charitable legacy.
Philanthropic giving is ultimately a way to engage your interests, while supporting the entities and people that best share your views and perspective. A comprehensive philanthropic plan builds on your philanthropic identity by developing a giving strategy that reinforces that identity and matches key objectives. It will focus on where and how you can most effectively use your resources to achieve key goals. The plan will answer the Why, the What, the Who, and the How. This is a bespoke process that adopts a multi-disciplinary approach of working with existing advisors when appropriate, with access to Canadian/ International expertise as required.
Philanthropic Structure & Partnerships
Finding the optimal structure for delivering a philanthropic plan should integrate with existing structures, values and tax structures. Our goal is to work with you to set up a strategic philanthropic approach at the core of your philanthropic identity and help leverage your resources and skills to make a significant positive difference. We are able to help you create and/or review a structure (e.g. a Foundation or Donor Advised Fund) that reinforces your philanthropic values and desired engagement profile; that manages your activities from a legal and fiscal perspective (e.g. drafting of grant agreement and contract principles); that develops strategic and long-term projects and partnerships that are close to your heart; that helps enhance (or minimize) your external visibility through promotion (or anonymous delivery) of your philanthropic activities; and that follows up on your activities through creation of a monitoring and evaluation framework.
In-House Philanthropic Advisor
The In-House Advisor can provide practical, helpful and thoughtful advice on a variety of philanthropic issues. This position can be placed inside your Foundation or reporting to key family members directly and will primarily deal with matters related to philanthropic landscape and opportunities; situational advice; major gift negotiations and decisions; and non-profit liaison activities. The advisor can also serve as a philanthropic coach to key decisions makers, and a sounding board for the vetting of new ideas.
Family Strategic Planning Facilitation and Family Retreats
Family planning retreats are great opportunities to review and assess current thinking around philanthropy and can serve to align family members and move forward collectively towards a shared goal. They are one of the best ways to prepare for a philanthropic plan inside the family; create greater buy-in of the importance of strategic philanthropy; as well create a stronger consensus. Retreats can give a powerful boost to the spirit and effectiveness of any family. An effective retreat may focus on philanthropic identity development; strategic giving workshop; next generation education and engagement; decision making workshop; impact assessment seminar; or any customized objective.
Philanthropic Landscape Interpretation
Canadians will inherit $780 billion in the next decade, coupled with the data point that approximately 80% of Canadian businesses are family-owned, implies an opportunity for increased philanthropy. A recent Philanthropic Foundations of Canada (PFC) and Harvard Kennedy School study confirmed that the number of private foundations in Canada is on the rise. In addition, a March 2017 article in The Economist describes the steady growth of Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) in Canada. The regular reporting of PFC and Community Foundations of Canada (CFC) on their respective constituencies confirms these trends.
With all this evidence that philanthropy is a growing trend, family philanthropy finds itself at a place where it can shape the landscape of giving through their activities. There is a particularly strong connection between social innovation and philanthropy in Canada as documented in the Stanford Social Innovation Review’s special section on philanthropy in Canada. Having access to professionals who have a solid understanding of the data sources, experience and interpretations of the current philanthropic landscape in Canada can be extremely useful in creating and adjusting family philanthropic planning.
Major Gift Strategy and Execution
Negotiating major gifts to charitable organizations can take time to properly align the priorities of the organization with the strategic interests of the donor. Major gifts should originate from the philanthropic identity of the donor and require that the charitable organization understand that the donor wishes to have their intentions and preference appreciated and understood. This includes representing the donor’s position on such matters as naming opportunities; opportunities to meet people of interest associated with the charitable organization; opportunities to influence the mission of the organization; public recognition (or anonymity) considerations; and timing, pledging, and payment considerations.
Family Governance is a topic that many families are reluctant to address. It covers two broad topics: governance of the business and of the family. Most family businesses, especially in the formative years, take on the characteristics of the founder or founding family. Although this entrepreneurial model works for an early stage family owned business, as the company grows in size it needs gradual evolution to a different, more professional model. Boards of Advisors and professional management are two ways to improve performance of the business and family systems. We understand the criticality of this reality and offer workshops and counsel to address family policy and best practices; the process to add outside advisor to the Board; the concept of ‘voice but no vote’; and how to choose the right staff.
Contact us directly to learn more.
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