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Turning Passion Into Action: Giving While Living

Resource type: Research Report

The Atlantic Philanthropies |

This publication explores the practice of Giving While Living as exemplified by our Founder Chuck Feeney. Our intention is to inspire individuals at varying levels of wealth to actively give their funds, skills and time during their lives, and receive enormous satisfaction in the process. This report includes profiles of Mr. Feeney and 10 other philanthropists who are giving generously during their lifetimes, explains the most-cited motivating factors for Giving While Living, and lays out a range of ways to set up and execute a Giving While Living programme.

This publication addresses some key steps for donors considering Giving While Living, and the following is an amended version of these tips that appear on pages 18 and 19. Much of this information is applicable to any type of giving programme.

> Slide Show of “Philanthropists’ Views on Giving While Living”

Determine what you have a passion to support

  • What cause(s) resonates with you? Social justice? Access to health care? Conservation? Women’s rights? Poverty? Education?

Decide what problem(s) you want to focus on

  • What specific issue or problem do you want to tackle?
  • What resources can you bring to the issue?

Do your research

  • Who else is working in this field? What are the successful and unsuccessful models?
  • Are there existing organisations to partner with to reach your goals?
  • Where can you most effectively intervene in an issue?

Select your geographic area(s) of concentration

  • What area do you want to target? Local? National? Global?

Consider your level of resources, interest, risk tolerance and desire for involvement

  • Will you give both time and money? How much?
  • What are your goals and expected results? Time frame?
  • What are your core competencies that you are willing to put to work?

Think about how you want to give

  • What motivates you to give?
  • Do you want to give anonymously, or play a visible role in your giving?
  • Do you like to work in cooperation with other donors?

Consider what results you hope for

  • How do you define and assess success? In the short term? Long term?
  • Do you want to invest in formal evaluations to measure progress?
  • Are you willing to accept setbacks and even failure on some projects you support?

Develop a plan

  • Will you devise a plan yourself, or do you need to hire someone to do it?
  • What resources do you need beyond what you plan to give? How will you get them?
  • Will a foundation work best for you, or would some other entity be better?

Join networks

  • What questions do you want to ask experienced philanthropists?
  • What other groups are supporting your area of interest?
  • What conferences would be most helpful to attend?

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Giving While Living