Given our deep experience in charitable giving, it was only a matter of time before one of our clients’ donors approached us to help guide their charitable giving. Fulfilling that role was an extremely interesting and exciting process. To be help a philanthropist to more good in the world is incredibly fulfilling. Here is what they asked us to do:
• Be the conduit for all requests – I want to be able to tell people when they approach me for a gift (in all kinds of inappropriate places, Gala’s etc.) that they have to submit their request to you
• You confirm their request has been received and, when necessary, you make sure it is a complete application and that they are a credible charity
• Meet with me once a month to review the requests and I will make up my mind in that meeting
• You are the one to respectfully advise them that their request has been declined
• I will likely want to advise the ones we approve but I will ask you to ensure they submit their pledge or gift reminders to you and you then send them to Finance to trigger payment
• You keep track of all the files, etc.
• You ensure there is follow up on any promised recognition, etc.
Of course, we agreed but we also suggested two additional steps in the process and two “rules of engagement. The additional steps were:
• To run a value clarification process with the philanthropist to ensure they were clear on what their key areas of interest in terms of donations
• To create a budget for each year so that we could keep them apprised of donations to date relative to the annual Dispersal Budget
Both of those steps were eagerly accepted. The rules were:
• If a charity takes the time to submit a request, we will at least look at it
• Our job is to help each charity put its best foot forward (that has resulted in a most positive image of the Foundation – one of the most respected in the country). We make friends even when we decline their request
Whether you give through a Foundation or through your personal resources, we can give you the JOY of giving and we can carry the burdens that are not so joyful.
This service is not unlike the Navigator Strategic Planning process. Sometimes it takes a skilled facilitator to move along a project that has been languishing. Similarly, we can facilitate meetings with work groups that need to arrive at a position of consensus in order to move on. One example was to bring 50 of the smaller Electrical Distribution companies from all across Ontario together to prepare a consensus position against a provincial white paper that would have had, in their view, a disastrous impact on electricity distribution in the province. A day and a half later they were in a position of consensus and all of them signed an Accord that they then presented to the Province and they won the day.