6 Tips for identifying your charitable purpose

When you’re beginning your charitable journey, it is helpful to identify and clarify your charitable interests and what inspires you to give. Here are a few tips to help you define your charitable purpose.

  1. Explore your beliefs
    Think about which beliefs you want to incorporate into your giving. Examples: knowledge, integrity, empathy, creativity, faith, generosity, justice.
  2. Consider populations
    Ask yourself whether there are specific groups you are passionate about serving. Examples: low-income families, domestic violence victims, refugees, endangered wildlife.
  3. Identify areas of interest
    Think about areas of interest that are compelling to you. Examples: K-12 education, economic development, religion, medical research, land conservation.
  4. Determine your geographic reach
    Determine whether you want to focus on a geographic area. Examples: your neighborhood, the Charlotte metro area, anywhere in the U.S.
  5. Specify the impact you want to make
    Picture the result you envision. Examples: improve child literacy rates, provide affordable housing, prevent drug and alcohol abuse, preserve cultural heritage.
  6. Craft an overarching “purpose statement”
    Put it all together to create a purpose statement to guide your giving. Examples: “Our family seeks to bring opportunity to the disadvantaged, strengthen the bond of families and improve the quality of people’s lives” or “My goal is to support and inspire creativity in the community in which I live.”

Once you’ve clarified your purpose, you can begin exploring specific strategies for reaching your charitable goals.

Source: FFTC’s Center for Personal Philanthropy’s Strategic Giving Guidebook

Rebekah Allison serves as VP, Center for Personal Philanthropy, at FFTC. Dedicated to serving client needs, she assists individuals and families with current giving strategies, grantmaking and legacy and succession planning.