Measure the impact of your charitable giving
Individuals frequently have an "above-average bias" when it comes to giving; they often tend to overestimate their performance relative to their peers. According to this article, the majority of Americans give less than 1% of their disposable income to charity,¹ even though the financial resources of the most wealthy have grown consistently over the years.
As with any goal, once we realize that our performance is far more modest than we originally thought, we are frequently motivated to do more. Here are three ways to help ensure that you are giving as much as you intend and in a way that is consistent with your values:
1. Incorporate charitable giving into your financial planning and wealth management.
Charitable giving should be approached in the same thoughtful and strategic manner as other elements of financial planning and wealth management. Every time Schwab Charitable™ donors log in to their Schwab.com account, they see their donor-advised fund account listed with their other Schwab investment accounts. This enables donors to track their charitable giving, just as they do with their investment portfolio. It also enables them to easily contribute shares from their investment accounts to their charitable account and maximize their tax benefits.
See a sample Schwab Charitable dashboard showing a donor's giving history.
2. Evaluate your charitable priorities annually.
With new life experiences, charitable giving priorities can change. Some donors tell us it is a holiday tradition to come together as a family and set the course of their giving for the year. Whatever your tradition, articulating and revisiting your charitable priorities annually will ensure that they continue to reflect your goals.
Many donors coordinate charitable planning with their annual financial planning. If this occurs during the "giving season," it is important to keep year-end deadlines in mind.
Take a more strategic approach to giving.
See how Schwab Charitable helps this couple be more thoughtful about the charities they support.
3. Stay connected to your favorite charities.
Keeping abreast of the latest developments at your favorite charities can make for a more fulfilling experience with your philanthropy. Many donors tell us their most rewarding experiences are not always their biggest grants.
When you recommend a grant to a charity from a Schwab Charitable account, a grant award letter including the grant check will be sent to the designated charity. This letter can be personalized to include the name of your charitable account and your contact information, or you can remain anonymous. View a sample letter and grant check.
Measure and review: Related Articles
Exploring Meaningful Shifts in PhilanthropyFrom opposite sides of the Atlantic, Shaady Salehi of the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project (TBP Project) and Ben Cairns of the Institute for Voluntary Action Research’s (IVAR) “Open and Trusting” initiative are working to radically transform phi Read More
How Donors Can Maximize Impact for Fighting Climate ChangeWith the effects of climate change becoming starker, climate philanthropy is taking off as never before. New players like the Bezos Earth Fund are making a splash and overall funding is rising each year; a report from the ClimateWorks Foundation e Read More
A Call for Philanthropic Investment to Help Black-led Migrant GroupsThis fall’s images of Border Patrol officers on horseback back using whips to drive Haitian asylum seekers across the Mexican border was a horrifying spectacle that highlighted the dire programmatic and funding challenges that Black-le Read More
Measure and review: Related articles
Filling the Gaps in Collective Impact
Collective impact is a model for changing systems and improving community outcomes. Many communities are embracing collective impact but does it work?
Predicting a 'Kilo of Impact'
Predictive analysis is determining the value of an intervention before it has started instead of relying on measurement to prove the value of past investment, allowing us to factor in social impact alongside calculations of financial value.
Using Measurement to Manage Impact
A bottom-up, people-centric view of impact – to complement top-down, investor-centric metrics – requires a different approach to measurement, one that better matches the welcome trend in impact investing toward proactive impact management vs. passive impact measurement.
A Playbook for Designing Social Impact Measurement
This article explores the practicalities of measuring the impact of a program using a spectrum approach that can help organizations develop a clear, evidence-based idea of why their programs work and to translate this measurement into both budgeting and reporting functions.
Getting the Best Possible Failures in Philanthropy
Not all failures are created equal. The author suggests the creation of a failure optimization plan so that organizations can design strategies so that if they do fail, they will still contribute knowledge to the field, have a significant, positive but unintended consequence, or increase the capacity of all involved to try other approaches.
Three Ways Businesses Can Improve Their Women's Economic Empowerment Programs
In this timely article, the authors address the need for corporate programs that focus on women's economic empowerment to incorporate women-centered, context-specific design and business-aligned measurement from the start.
- Giving Planner, developed by our partners at the Raikes Foundation, is an online tool to help donors benchmark, plan, manage and analyze their charitable activities including financial gifts, volunteer hours and in-kind gifts.
- This video will give you an overview of Giving Planner.
- Need help with using the Giving Planner? Watch the following tutorials:
Identify resources to donate
Align your giving vehicles
Structure your giving
Measure your impact