February 7, 2024

Building a Philanthropic Strategy in 5 Steps

Author John Canady, Chief Executive Officer

With an ever-increasing number of your clients interested in making a positive impact through charitable endeavours, here are five steps that can help them develop an effective giving strategy for 2024.


1. Set a budget

Use the start of the new year to review your clients’ annual giving. Look back and see how close they were to their 2022 targets. If they didn’t meet their target, reflect on why. Discuss what they would like to modify in their giving plan for this year. Use this to create a budget for how they would like their giving to develop, perhaps increasing over the next three, five, or 10 years depending on their goals.


2. Choose a cause

Your client’s philanthropic interests may develop over time, so have a conversation early on about what matters to them. Do not be shy; ask questions like, “are there any issues you are passionate about?” There may be issues and causes that have impacted them or their families that they’d like to engage with.


3. Where to make an impact

Are there specific places your client would like their funding to help? Their home country or birthplace, somewhere they might have travelled, or somewhere they have never been but, nonetheless, feel compelled to help? Is there a particular group of people they would like to support? Do they want to give to children, young adults, or other age groups? What about members of a specific community or those facing a certain challenge?


4. Charitable priorities

Help your clients look into organisations that address the what, who, and where of their philanthropic priorities. Websites, annual reports, and publications often highlight a charity’s core project areas and what they have accomplished to date. Many foundations and charitable trusts have searchable grantmaking databases or case studies available on their websites. You should also strive to learn what they plan to accomplish in the future with more funding.


5. Grantmaking

Get started. Actions speak louder than words and there’s no better way to learn than by doing. Your client doesn’t need to have every detail of their philanthropic strategy mapped out before recommending grants. Once they start making grants, be sure to check in and reflect on what’s resonating. If the impact doesn’t feel like what your client set out to achieve, ask why. Your client’s giving journey is one that will evolve over time so be prepared to be flexible.

For more information on how NPT UK can support your clients’ philanthropic journey, please contact us.

About the Author

John Canady, CEO of National Philanthropic Trust UK, has 25 years of experience working across the business, nonprofit and government sectors. He specializes in creating and managing philanthropic funds for donors and family offices around the world who wish to base their philanthropy from the UK.