Unit 6: Strategic Granting, Leadership, and Impact Investing
Family philanthropy services can include helping donor families define larger impact strategies and lead through use of their financial, social, human, and intellectual capitals. In this unit, you will find guides and examples for helping families make an impact.
READ (45 minutes): Balancing Responsive, Discretionary, and Strategic Grants
Over time, generous families often end up creating budgets or grant rounds for different type of purposes.
There are four common purposes or categories:
- Discretionary – each family member, couple, or family branch can recommend grants based on their individual interests.
- Legacy – a small set of organizations receives annual grants (often with little paperwork) because of their importance to the founders or family’s heritage.
- Responsive – responding to ideas from the community.
- Strategic – grants made with more focused intention or impact goals.
Here are good starting points for families interested in learning more:
- Discretionary Grants (NCFP): a Knowledge Center Featured Search of key stories and guides
- Strategic, Responsive, or Both (Kris Putnam-Walkerly, 2016): a blog post about the pros and cons of each approach
- Finding Your Focus in Philanthropy (Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, 2014): help on choosing a focus for giving. There are additional RPA resources in the Knowledge Center on Launching Your Own Major Project and Assessing Impact.
- Strategic Philanthropy: Maximizing Family Engagement and Social Impact (NCFP, 2008): an Issue Brief featuring tips and examples of families transitioning to strategic giving based on family members’ common interests and values.
- Legacy Grantmaking: What Granddad Would Have Wanted (NCFP, 2006): transcript from a webinar led by NCFP President Ginny Esposito.
TUNE-IN (60 minutes): Spark Session— Partnerships Between Family Donors and Community Foundations Beyond the Advised Fund
In this Spark Session webinar, staff from The Philanthropic Initiative and Foundation for the Carolinas explore the ways community foundations and donors work together to lead and influence greater community change.
READ (60 minutes): Search for Synergy
TUNE-IN (45 minutes): Connecting Donors to Community Leadership Goals [fifth video, members only]
- Session slides
- Learn about the related I2L2 Formula for Community Change in this guide from ORS Impact and used in NCFP’s Impact Strategies and Tools Primer
- North Texas Explore Giving Opportunities site and internal tracking spreadsheet for “influenced grants”
- Oregon’s “giving navigator,” open to to all nonprofits so that staff wouldn’t be a gatekeeper
- Tampa Bay’s Critical Needs List
TUNE-IN (60 minutes): Philanthropic Services Beyond Grants
Donors use an increasingly broad set of tools to make a difference, amplifying the impact of their gifts and grants. How might you as a philanthropic advisor increase your comfort and competence in discussing the broader toolkit of impact tools in NCFP’s Impact Strategies & Tools Primer? NCFP Program Consultant Tony Macklin led a conversation in this July 2022 topical call.
READ (60 minutes): Strategic Giving and Impact Frameworks
TUNE-IN (60 minutes): Topical Call—Impact Investing with Donors [members only]
In this 2018 topical call, the Marin Community Foundation kicked off a discussion about involving donors in impact investing.
BORROW AND ADAPT: Impact Investing [members only]
Community foundations in Marin and Oregon shared materials on their impact investing work and Mission Investors Exchange shared the results of a late 2017 survey of community foundations.
TUNE-IN (60 minutes): Responses to DAF Grants and the Issue of Hate in Charitable Work
Community foundations across the country have initiated a variety of responses to the issue of hate in charitable work and DAF grants. Staff from the community Foundation of Greater Memphis, Foundation for the Carolinas, Marin Community Foundation shared tips in this June 2020 topical call.