Is your philanthropic giving making a difference?

Posted by 13 Mar, 2011

After carefully examining all your philanthropic options, finally determining your chosen charity, the size and scope of your gift and then actually transferring your money to the charity, how do you know if your gift will  actually make a difference?

As a donor, you have a right to know that your gift is being used for the purposes intended.

You can use any number of methods, from a simple question such as “What did you do with my gift and is it making a difference?” to sophisticated grants monitoring, analysis and reporting systems.

Ideally, the best way to know the impact of your gift  is to be directly involved with the organization yourself so you can see first-hand what the results of your giving has accomplished. Realistically, most donors do not have the time to devote directly to all the causes and charities they support. Here are some tips on making sure the charity knows why you are supporting them and what your expectations are as a donor.

  • When you make a gift to a charity, send a letter along with the cheque indicating why you are supporting this organization and what you intended the money to be used for. Be clear in your intentions so the charity knows how you had intended your gift to help the organization.
  • If you are able, go and visit the charity, program or activity you have supported. You will be able to see how the organization functions and how your particular gift is being used.
  • If you would like the organization to report to you on how the funds were actually used, add that to your letter. If your gift is over multi years, then ask for a report at the end of each year.
  • If you need more sophisticated reporting, you might want to devise an evaluation report form that outlines the type of information you would like to receive or if you have a multitude of grants each year, you may wish to invest in a computerized grants management system.

Whatever the mechanism, it is important as a donor to know the benefits of your giving. Need some help determining impact? Call us at 416-357-1231.

Categories : Terry Smith

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