Starting With Values
That would be YOUR values. What are they? If you haven’t identified the core values that establish the foundation for your philanthropy, here are a few suggestions for getting started.
- Reflect on the formative experiences in your life. List them, along with how they shaped your core values and who you are now.
- List three people who have been strong influences on you. These can be historical or public figures or people you know personally. What values did they transmit to you?
- List your primary affiliations (i.e., clubs, religious congregations, alma mater, advocacy groups, charitable donation recipients). What is your motivation for involvement with each?
Considering Philanthropic Interests
Is most of your giving reactive, meaning someone asks and you say yes or no? Or maybe you are now in position to make one or more charitable gifts that are larger than those of your past. Here are some exercises to begin to home in on your priority areas for difference-making.
- What is your earliest philanthropic memory? Maybe it was serving at a soup kitchen with your father or handing out snacks at a Habitat for Humanity site where your mother was helping build someone’s first house. Or maybe it was trick-or-treating for UNICEF or collecting donations for your Little League team to travel to a tournament. Whatever the memory, what did you like about it? What, if anything, did you not like? When you think about it now, is anything about it rewarding? Uncomfortable? Did you learn anything that stuck with you? Write it down. Be as specific as possible.
- List the organizations you support now, along with your motivation for each. How satisfied are you with those gifts? Why?
- If you were handed a magic wand today and could use it to change any circumstance in the world, what would you change? Why that one?