3 Ways to help family foundation offices improve their giving impact

Share this post

In the United States, there are more than 40,000 family foundations, all with varying asset and team support levels. This increasingly popular charitable mission vehicle has some incredible benefits for families who want to make their giving deliberate, multigenerational and highly impactful.   Once a family foundation is set up and running, it’s not going to operate on autopilot. Whether you’ve invested really big and have a full or part-time staff, or you’re personally directing your foundation’s giving from your home office, getting help can be crucial.

Return on Good offers these three ways to help your family foundation office take your giving to the next level:

  • Expand giving opportunities.
  • Speed up giving strategy conversations.
  • Share the impact of your family foundation.

In this blog, we’ll take a deeper dive into each strategy.  

Expand potential family foundation giving opportunities, including in your backyard.

According to the most recent data available, the United States has more than 1.54 million charitable organizations and the number is growing. Keeping track of all of them can prove challenging. There could even be new organizations or campaigns impacting your local community that you don’t know about. Even Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos is finding it difficult to figure out how to give away his billions.   “The hard part is figuring out how to do it in a levered way,” Bezos told CNN Business. “It’s not easy. Building Amazon was not easy. It took a lot of hard work, a bunch of very smart teammates, hardworking teammates, and I’m finding … that charity, philanthropy, is very similar.”  So how do you expand your foundation’s giving opportunities? First, it’s important to get a full picture of the charitable organizations that best fit your values. Then, start a map for which might be the best destinations for your giving investment. Ask key questions like:

  • Where and who does this organization serve?
  • Are any of them partnered with or duplicating the services of places I already support?
  • What’s new with these organizations?
  • What are their key initiatives, campaigns and recent successes?

That’s what Return on Good Strategic Giving does. We scan the entire charitable environment in the areas you’ve told us are your mission, and come back with key insights on where you might start. We’re like a combination of your very own research team, personal giving shoppers, and giving advisors, all centered on your values and impact goals.  Contact us to get a free Return on Good Research Report on a charity you love or are exploring.   Speed up giving strategy conversations so you can focus on what’s important.  Talking with fundraisers can be, well, awkward. We know this at Return on Good because some of us have been fundraisers. We’ve sat across from donors at kitchen tables and in coffee shops to have important conversations to establish what they really care about.  Whether you volunteer or serve on a board, you’re likely involved with the charities you plan to make a big gift to. That can make it pretty difficult to ask tough questions about the impact of giving, the organization’s finances, and where and how your money will be used. When you partner with Return on Good for Gift Facilitation, we’ll have those awkward and difficult conversations for you.   When we get in touch with an organization with a big-gift lead (even anonymous), they definitely respond. We ask the tough questions and, if they don’t have the answers, we help get them there. Return on Good isn’t a replacement for fundraisers or charity leaders. We’re the action-focused philanthropic team that gets potential receiving organizations focused and acting now to move a gift forward. It helps that we’ve run charities and big campaigns, and we know the language of nonprofits so we can cut through the noise and get you the answers you need. That way, by the time you’re talking with the charity, you’ll be closer to a match, and on the verge of celebrating instead of having tedious, awkward conversations at a coffee shop.  Share your family foundation impact with a compelling giving story.  Have you or your foundation ever been profiled by a charity? Were you underwhelmed by the result? Did it seem more focused on promoting the charity than telling the “why” behind your giving and your family’s core values and mission? That’s not surprising. Charities, after all, are in the business of doing good. They’re not in the business of telling good stories. Even the biggest charities have marketing departments that are focused on marketing the charity, not on telling donor stories.   But at Return on Good, we’re not just strategists and researchers. We have an entire creative team of seasoned, award-winning filmmakers, journalists and designers that will root Your Giving Story in your “why.” The result is a documentary-style video that gets to the heart of what inspires you to give.  Your Giving Story may feature your family members as well as those who have been impacted by your generosity. We’ll cover who you are and your identity in your community. Your Giving Story may also focus on specific gifts you’re making. Your Giving Story can make an immediate impact by inspiring others to give to the charities you support.   Beyond giving stories, our creative team also creates full reports on the impact of your foundation. Our reports can cover key milestones, like five, ten, twenty years after your foundation began. They can also be created and shared on an annual basis. They’ll give you great content for your website, and also help charities really understand your core mission, so you get better requests for support.   Return on Good can work with you to develop Your Giving Story and share the impact your foundation has made. Doing so inspires future generations and others to give.  Ready to Give Smarter?  Those are three big ways your family foundation office can improve your giving impact. Return on Good team is ready to help make your giving more strategic, easier, and more inspiring. In short, to Give Smarter. Interested? Drop us a line, and let’s talk about the next step in your foundation’s philanthropic impact.