It’s the kickoff to the holiday season! Happy American Thanksgiving! 

A number of North Americans are celebrating Thanksgiving, part of that celebration includes watching football, eating turkey and shopping. As part of our GivingTuesday day series, this post explores what consumer, investor and charitable behaviours have in common. 

When you combine consumer, investor and charitable behaviour you create a financial-based profile. This profile is generated through your online search and buying habits as well as your offline loyalty card consumer habits, your GPS tracking (yes Google knows what shops you stop at and what gas stations you frequent), and social media likes and dislikes. All of this personal data is capitalized by consumer outlets (the places you buy stuff). The way this is presented back to you is by showcasing things that you might like to buy, providing different prices for you versus someone else on the same product, and for some lenders, tailoring the type and rate of credit products. 

Why are we talking about consumption in a blog post about GivingTuesday?

Simple – A number of years ago, in an effort to balance out the buying frenzie, the GIV3 Foundation launched GivingTuesday. An international campaign to drive a portion of the online shopping power towards funding charities. This ostensibly launches the holiday giving season. 

So, just as you have created a consumer profile for businesses, you also have a donor profile. This GivingTuesday, as you think about how, why, where and what to contribute to charities over the holidays, reflect back on your giving habits and perhaps consider the following:

  • What type of philanthropist do I aspire to be?
  • Who are some community leaders that inspire me?
  • What was the most amazing gift (tangible or intangible) I have ever received?
  • What does it feel like when I give something?
  • What has been my most memorable volunteer experience? Why is that?

This holiday giving season, before you send your money to the same charities as before consider how your philanthropy maps against the 4 T’s – Time, Talent, Treasures and Ties.

Most solutions designed by organizations (or groups of agencies) addressing complex social issues are multi-faceted; so too is the approach you can take with your charitable giving.  A “Giving Portfolio” is a layered solution from the funder’s perspective as a way to address those complex social issues. It not only includes a variety of organizations that approach the problem from different angles, it also deploys capital differently to various projects. Combining the types of “investees” with the way capital is deployed balances out the risk in your Giving Portfolio.
As it this is a GivingTuesday post we are going to focus on the deployment of capital side of your portfolio.

Your Giving Portfolio

GivingTuesday man in a racing wheelchair

A balanced Giving Portfolio should include a combination of the following:

  • traditional philanthropy (as the mood strikes you),
  • a targeted injection of capital that type of capital in the continuum 
  • A long-term financing cycle so that the organizations can focus on the solution and not on the “Please sir, can I have some more?” of chasing after the dollar
  • Your asset mix that supports your charitable assets may include a percentage invested in Impact Funds
  • Debt financing or low-interest lendings so that an organization may purchase a building or scale their solution where traditional banks may not be willing to provide capital

The Collective Power of Strategic Philanthropy

Collectives (groups of individuals who are striving towards a similar goal) have the power to shape the sector because we are the ones that are financing it.  We finance it through our tax dollars, through our consumer buying power (think the Pink Ribbon campaigns), through our investment strategies, and through our charitable contributions.  This season, take some time to plan out, not only who will be receiving funds from you, but HOW they will receive those funds. 

On Dec. 3rd, North American charities and donors are participating in a national GivingTuesday campaign, we encourage you to consider what it could look like if you wore your consumer hat and your investor hat when deciding on your holiday giving.  Hint: The first step is designing the financial side of your Giving Portfolio.

For more resources on Strategic Philanthropy and Legacy Planning please visit our Resources Page.