Approaching Strategic Philanthropy

Tory Schalkle
3 min readMar 23, 2023

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Strategic philanthropy is a giving strategy that focuses on issues or needs consistent with the giver’s broader purpose, philanthropy goals, and beliefs. Donors may impact and effect good social change by employing these well-articulated tactics. Understanding your motives, values, and priorities is critical for developing a relevant approach. It also helps you connect with people in your community or family more effectively and leave a lasting legacy for future generations.

The issue of how to approach strategic philanthropy is not trivial. It takes foresight, ingenuity, and bravery. It also demands an appreciation of the dilemma many foundations face: a lack of ability to deal with complicated concerns. Furthermore, it necessitates a readiness to acknowledge that many solutions may fail.

This is especially true for local civil society organizations, which frequently thrive in the absence of considerable money or leadership from benefactors. A foundation must consider how its gifts would fare in such circumstances.

To solve this obstacle, a new method of corporate giving must be devised. The first step is to identify the places where social and economic value overlap. This entails thoroughly assessing the four competitive context elements: workforce, institutions, infrastructure, and resources.

Strategic philanthropy is a methodical and results-driven procedure that connects a business with a non-profit organization. The partnership’s purpose is to improve a community’s competitive situation through social impact and business advantages.

It necessitates the development and implementation of a plan that considers the whole organization and its business segments. This includes incorporating philanthropic initiatives into the broader business plan and creating responsibility for philanthropy and other corporate activities.

Furthermore, it is critical to follow and analyze the strategy’s outcomes systematically. This enables course modifications at all levels to be done. A solid and adaptable approach will be able to adjust to grantees’ changing demands as they carry out their work. It will also be adaptable enough to adjust to changing political and economic circumstances.

Strategic philanthropy is the allocation of charity resources to accomplish a specific, overarching strategy. This strategy works effectively for individual contributors, charity foundations, companies, and governments.

Donors may make contributions to numerous groups in response to various causes, such as poverty alleviation or support for new educational initiatives. They can also designate funding for certain initiatives inside an organization based on the magnitude of their gifts.

It is crucial to emphasize, however, that many contributors are taking a more deliberate approach to donate. They optimize their effectiveness by focusing on places with the most need and the least capacity.

This strategy-development process involves extensive study and analysis of goals, values, and a thorough awareness of the difficulties and possibilities confronting charitable organizations. The study and analysis should be supported by regular result monitoring and course modifications as needed.

Strategic philanthropists should be searching for ways to monitor and assess their efforts throughout their work. They should utilize this data to determine whether their methods are working and how they may be improved.

Through its review process, the foundation should also strive to foster a culture of continual learning. This involves including assessment personnel in decision-making and encouraging them to communicate their findings with other foundation team members.

Another method a foundation might ensure enough information is to require its grantees to report on their performance to the foundation. Following that, the foundation will decide which grantees are more effective than others.

In the philanthropic sector, there is a growing body of knowledge that may assist donors and grantees in developing the tools they need to accomplish a more thorough and successful review process. Independent organizations that review foundations and their grantees, networks of donors and evaluators, and university programs create this knowledge.

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Tory Schalkle

Tory Schalkle is currently a Senior Vice President of Enterprise Strategy, with deep strategy and business development expertise.