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11 Resources to Help You Create Your Charitable Giving Plan


Gabe Ahmed

Investment Research Associate

Many of our clients have significant charitable goals. This is a very heart-forward, mission-driven organization, so it makes a lot of sense that the people in our community are actively pushing positive change in multiple ways.

We’re not able to offer the same depth of insight on charitable donations as we are with investment management, but thought we ought to share some resources to make this process a little less mysterious. After all, if you’re in the early stages of forming your giving plan, it can be downright intimidating to get started.

Giving is best understood as a continuous practice, not a one-time check writing extravaganza. The most effective donors tend to view it as something they try to get better at over time, and often develop an intensely personal sense of what matters.

Keep that in mind as you read through these resources, and remember that perfection is an unrealistic goal. With that said, incremental improvements in the way you approach charitable giving can compound into outrageous real-world impact over the course of a lifetime.

  • To start, this comprehensive guide from Charities Aid Foundation highlights the three key considerations when embarking on your journey of charitable giving. It’s followed by some excellent deeper-level articles like this one, which dives into measuring impact through evidence. 
  • Keeping with the theme of general guides, this article also provides some insight into the key questions that donors will need to ponder over. 
  • The Washington Secretary of State published an informational page on navigating the many organizations you can donate to – there are several thought-provoking FAQs here, contemplating ideas such as what percentage of donations a charity should actually put toward it’s cause.
  • I personally love this piece from United Way because it discusses the notion of viewing your donation as an investment. They also offer several “red flags” to be wary of when vetting the organizations you give to. 
  •  Speaking of examining the plethora of organizations out there, Charity Watch is a hub full of resources for determining which groups are on the up-and-up (and which aren’t). Here you can find a ton of information on specific charities A-Z. and Guidestar can also be used alongside Charity Watch to form a comprehensive analysis and source different charities. 
  • Once you’ve dialed in on the specific charities you’re interested in giving to, you can also use Charity Watch to sharpen your general knowledge, as they also share interesting bits on things like why automated ratings are unreliable.
  • In this piece, our very own Sloane discusses the parallels between business and finance and solving social problems with Mark Tercek, investment banker turned CEO of Nature Conservancy.
  • Finally, in a conversation between Sloane and Eric Friedman, CFA, we again learn about the importance of evidence in measuring impact. I found it absolutely fascinating (and relevant) how Eric drew comparisons between the amount of evidence present and the level of risk surrounding a giving opportunity.

We truly hope you enjoy going through these materials, and that they provide some guidance in your journey. 

We’re always delighted to speak with you, so if you’d like to further discuss this (or whatever else may be on your mind), please feel free to book some time. 

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