EXPLORING PHILANTHROPIC MOTIVATIONS AND ASPIRATIONS
Individuals or couples embarking on major philanthropic plans or projects need to be very clear about what motivates their giving and what they hope to achieve by it. Del Prado Philanthropy (DP) helps individuals explore the biographical and values-based drivers of their giving and answer essential questions, such as:
- What transformational experiences influenced their decisions to give?
- What core values and principles drive their philanthropic involvement?
- What problems do they wish to help solve?
- What outcomes do they wish to achieve and how will they be attained?
- What constitutes progress or success?
- What should they be personally accountable for?
- How do they wish to be involved in their causes?
- How do they wish to involve family in philanthropy?
- Are there estate, tax, financial and family goals they also wish to address through philanthropy?
- How much can they give without compromising their financial independence and family legacy goals?
- How do they envision their involvement and impact in the far future?
STUDYING CAUSES AND CHARITIES
The crowded world of tax-exempt organizations may be confusing to many donors who do not know where to start in making philanthropic choices. While donors are exploring their options, some may also wish to remain anonymous until they are sufficiently comfortable with a charity’s fit in their overall plans. DP can assist them in:
- surveying local charities that align with causes they wish to support;
- arranging local philanthropic tours and volunteer experiences;
- reviewing charities’ long-term strategy, sustainability and accountability to donors;
- assessing leadership’s vision, effectiveness, succession plan and compatibility with donors; and
- conducting due diligence of charities’ adherence with donor intent and progress achieved from the use of donations.
CREATING THE PHILANTHROPIC PLAN
There are various strategies that can be deployed to fulfill a charitable individual’s objectives and each one has benefits and drawbacks. After a careful review of an individual’s goals, preferences, family situation, tax mitigation needs, estate planning objectives and capacity to embrace complexity, DP can provide:
- guidance in harnessing charitable strategies to address philanthropic, tax, financial, and estate planning goals;
- assistance with what types of funds or entities should be created to fulfill the giving plan; and
- referrals to suitable professionals required to implement the philanthropic plans.
ENGAGING THE FAMILY IN PHILANTHROPY
Philanthropy can be a wonderful vehicle for strengthening bonds, inspiring and modeling good behaviors and for intergenerational communication in a family. Given the different personalities, passions, perspectives and generational priorities of family members, how they are engaged in philanthropy is not without any challenges. Depending on one’s goals for family engagement, DP can:
- Help find common ground and identify differences in a couple’s giving;
- Assist them in determining what legacy they wish to leave, how much is enough for family, how much to set aside for philanthropy and how will philanthropic decisions be made;
- Help them determine how to best communicate their philanthropic intentions to their loved ones;
- Help them plan on how giving will be carried out when they are gone;
- Encourage them to be open to different ways for the next generations to be meaningfully and joyfully engaged in family philanthropy; and
- Assist in orchestrating the set up of family foundations, donor advised funds, endowments or charitable trusts.
Too many high-net-worth families have estate plans that are not guided by a clear vision of the highest purposes of their wealth. As a consequence, these estate plans simply facilitate the transfer of wealth in the most tax-efficient manner and enable “affluenza” in the next generation. Because these plans mainly focus on the transfer of financial assets, they do not support or reinforce the transfer of the non-financial assets of the family — the values, principles, behaviors and aspirations associated with a truly abundant and purposeful life.
DP can help families create more purposeful plans through a process that captures important family narratives and life lessons; distills the family’s values, principles, priorities and objectives; and identifies their aspirations for succeeding generations and for society. The resulting product includes vision and mission statements for their wealth that can help guide more meaningful legacy planning and can help succeeding generations understand their true heritage.
Legacy letters or ethical wills provide a special opportunity to communicate one’s values, stories, life lessons, hopes, dreams, blessings, and other important messages to family and future generations. They help transmit the true wealth in one’s life and what one stood for where wills and trusts only focus on how one’s material wealth will be passed on.
DP can assist an individual in writing a legacy letter based on a guided exploration of meaningful family stories, experiences, insights, advice and sentiments that one wishes to ultimately convey to loved ones. This letter can be a source of comfort, encouragement and counsel for succeeding generations. She can also expand this message into a booklet with text and pictures that will be treasured by family members for many years to come.