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Getting Started in Philanthropy

Giving Communities is a resource developed by Bolder Giving to help you find communities of donors with whom you share common interests and values. As you start your giving journey, the six questions offered on this website are a great place to begin. With each one, we’ve offered some suggestions or ideas for reflection to help get you started.





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“Working with Financial Professionals”

This issue of More than Money, “Working with Financial Professionals” offers practical advice for finding a good fit with financial professionals. Writers describe recognizing a disconnect between their values and the values of professionals who may have been inherited with the wealth from the prior generation. Tips for being a good client. Tips for managing financial professionals. Two readers share the unorthodox practices of professionals they depend on, letting readers know that there are alternatives to growing principal and reducing taxes as the goals of wealth management.





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“How Much is Enough?”

This issue of More than Money, “How Much is Enough?” offers guidance for forming a realistic assessment of your assets. Because there is no objective definition of enough, and because there will always be others who have more. Millionaires and those with far less net worth can share similar anxieties about having enough.





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“Partners in Social Change”

This issue, “Partners in Social Change,” of More than Money offers stereotype-busting profiles of rich people who share power and resources and work passionately for the common good. One writer describes becoming a successful businessman specifically so that he would have more money to give away. Others describe the process of donating money and resisting the temptation to become controlling or patronizing of those who receive the resources. Alternative formats for foundations and finding grantors are detailed. Writers describe including spouses as partners, learning activism (or teaching activism) to their partners. A family confronts its political polarity, finding acceptable middle ground on Read more





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“How Much to Give?”

This issue, “How Much to Give,” in More than Money, discusses the challenges to define how much is enough to give. Enough is subjective, arbitrary. Trying to apply a formula is ultimately unsatisfying, as the circumstances surrounding wealth are different for everyone. This issue details specific creative approaches for individuals arriving at their own definition of how much is enough to give.





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“Family Foundations”

This issue on “Family Foundations” in More than Money, offers many tales from the family foundation frontlines. Lots of cartoons supporting stories of challenging family dynamics en route to matching funding decisions to personal values. First person descriptions of decision-making styles both affirming and autocratic; conflict between generations; upsetting the family order. Also, stories of family foundations structured to welcome input from all who wish to participate, foundations reorganized and given to community leaders, and creative cooperation in finding areas to fund.





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“Creative Giving”

This issue on “Creative Giving” in More than Money, offers a comprehensive look at giving. Who gives, how much, where to, and why. Sprinkled with statistics and analysis, powerful individual stories describe giving outside the lines. Writers talk about giving money unconventionally, seeking ways to give, and seeking gift recipients by their own rules, not according to established giving norms. Some giving alleviates the loneliness often endemic to inheritors. Others seek to share the joy in giving. Models for giving beyond that which supports culture, arts, education and policy institutions that serve the donors lifestyle. Compare your giving habits: amounts, Read more





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“What Makes Giving Satisfying?”

This issue of More than Money, “What Makes Giving Satisfying?” offers an academic perspective classifying types of giving styles, opportunities for ‘team giving,’ democratizing funding choices by involving others in funding decisions, using foundations to identify individual activists, and tips for creating donor-advised funds.





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Giving Toolkit: Risk More

When we encourage givers to “risk more,” what we really mean is, “Let your giving become an adventure!” Does this appeal? If your giving often feels just routine, or burdensome, or anxiety-producing, perhaps you’d like to venture outside your habits and try something really different and better for yourself. Here are some ideas to get you started. This exercise invites you to step outside your current giving style.





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“Public or Private? The Empowered Choice”

This article in More than Money, discusses how the choices we make about being public or private donors depend on the intricate web of factors that define our own lives. For some, the “right” choice is to be blatantly “out”; for others, it is to be intensely private; for still others, it’s a middle ground – more open in some contexts, more private in others. The key is to choose in an empowered way-with deliberate and aware intention, so that other people’s opinions, your own fears and emotions, societal pressure, or circumstances beyond your control are not making your decisions Read more





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Giving Toolkit: Inspire More

No matter how much money or how little money you personally have to give, you can increase your impact a thousand-fold by inspiring the giving of others. (Look at Bill Gates! Even he felt that his best contribution would be to encourage his peers to give, and so he started a 50% Giving Pledge for his fellow billionaires.) We’ll help you explore a variety of ways to inspire the giving of others.





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Quick Experiments in Bolder Giving

Many donors have asked us for quick-and-easy ways to experiment with giving levels. In these two pages of the Bolder Giving Workbook, we share some of the giving experiments that creative givers have tried. We illustrate each option as though implemented by a fictional character: Julia Harlow, single, age 32, freelance software consultant with net earnings of $50,000 a year who also inherited $1.4 million from her grandparents. (Your financial situation may differ dramatically from hers, but some of the ideas for giving may still be useful.)





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Story Library

In Bolder Giving’s story library, you can browse over 180 stories of extraordinary givers — people who have given at least 20%, and often 50% or even 90% of their income (for three years or more), assets, or business profits — and who embody our “risk more, inspire more” qualities. We are all influenced more by what is “normal” among our peers; without even noticing it, we judge what is possible by what we see around us. Browsing stories of Bold Givers opens our mind and heart to new possibilities. Who are you curious about? People similar to you? People Read more







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“Effective Giving”

In this issue on “Effective Giving” in More than Money, people with surplus income talk about what they’ve learned about giving–what’s satisfying, what’s hard, what makes giving most effective. You’ll hear from “ordinary people,” as well as well known philanthropists. From Steve Kirsch, large-scale venture capitalist with his own multi-million dollar foundation, to Wayne Muller, who advocates giving small and simply on a local scale, this issue invites you to explore the range of available options –and find out what giving effectively means you.