Extensive research tells us that Australians are keen to make significant and structured gifts. But the giving pathway can be confusing. A new guide aims to address that.

Perpetual Private has launched an Australian Philanthropy Toolkit as part of its ongoing partnership with the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (Stanford PACS), based in California.

Developed by Stanford PACS and adapted for the Australian market by Perpetual, the toolkit is the first of its kind in Australia, providing a practical step-by-step resource designed to help individuals, families and advisers engage in thoughtful conversations, be effective in their charitable giving and anchor it around what matters most to them throughout their philanthropic journey.

There isn’t a definitive way to be a philanthropist and we developed the Toolkit with that in mind.

Perpetual Private’s Managing Partner for Community & Social Investment, Caitriona Fay said: “Our work across the sector tells us that many individuals and families are interested in philanthropy, but don’t know where to start, or [they don’t] have a clear roadmap to ensure their giving will be impactful. The toolkit offers a much-needed resource that can support their journey and the development of effective philanthropy in Australia.”

How the toolkit can help prospective philanthropists

Firstly, it will meet very real need and demand. Australia is currently experiencing the largest intergenerational wealth transfer in history and, despite the impact of the global pandemic, the desire and commitment of Australians to give remains strong. Over the last 12 months, 74% of Australians have given financially to charities and not-for-profits. The motivation is undoubtedly there; what the toolkit will help to do is remove confusion about structured giving and provide a how-to guide for people ready to give.

“With the largest intergenerational transfer of wealth currently underway, the Toolkit provides philanthropists with a path forward. It encourages individuals and families to think about their values, find their focus and consider which giving vehicles and causes might suit their intentions. It also prompts them to work through any issues and opportunities such as family dynamics – that can include transferring wealth at the right time and in the right way or establishing a family foundation where multiple generations can get involved,” said Caitriona.

It helps advisors too

Erinn Andrews, Director of Philanthropy Research and Education at Stanford PACS said: “Advisers can also play a key role in helping their clients through this process. In the US, we saw rising expectations from clients for advisers to address philanthropic planning, while research from the US Trust revealed that these expectations are not being met. Less than half (45%) of clients were satisfied with the conversations and information their advisers were providing them about philanthropy.

“As a result, and through leveraging our years of research about best practices and through focus groups and user testing with donors, wealth advisers, and philanthropy experts like Perpetual, we developed the Toolkit specifically to support advisers in guiding their clients through this process.”

What’s in the Toolkit

“There isn’t a definitive way to be a philanthropist and we developed the Toolkit with that in mind,” said Caitriona. “The process starts with a values-based goal, but the journey can take any number of directions. What matters is that you make informed, thoughtful decisions and continue learning along the way. This can be done as an individual, with your family and in collaboration with your adviser.”

The toolkit is based on six key questions that prospective philanthropists should ask themselves when considering a major gift or structured giving:

  1. How do you find your focus areas?
  2. Where can you learn more, seek professional advice and engage other donors?
  3. How do you involve your family?
  4. How do you structure your giving?
  5. How do you find and assess organisations to support?
  6. How do you make gifts and track your giving?

It includes a series of activities and worksheets for individuals and families to step through as they think about how to structure their philanthropy. It also includes a dedicated section for advisors.

Helpful tools include:

  • A ‘Value Cards’ deck from which donors can select words that best reflect their values

  • An activity that helps donors reflect on their giving and volunteering history to help paint the historic picture of what matters to them.
  • An ‘Issues’ deck that helps donors consider what causes they care about.

  • Exercises to help donors craft their value statements and their 4 T’s – ‘treasure, time, talent and ties’ (treasure is shorthand for financial contributions, time reflects the hours you are able to give, talent refers to your specific skillsets, and ties relate to your social and professional networks).
  • Helpful information about collaborative giving.

  • A series of exercises that support donors to involve their families in philanthropy.
  • Assistance in creating a ‘philanthropy budget’ to assist with structured giving.
  • A quiz that helps prospective philanthropists establish the best vehicle for their giving – such as direct giving, a PAF, or a sub-fund within a PuAF.
  • Tools for donors to track their philanthropic giving.
  • Advice on doing necessary due diligence and creating relationships with the values-aligned nonprofits that individuals and families are interesting in supporting.
  • A library of reading resources for donors and families to educate themselves further about giving.

Why the toolkit is a powerful resource for fundraisers too

As fundraisers (particularly those of you in the major giving, trusts & foundations, and gifts in wills space), we highly recommend you read the toolkit. Because what it tells you, are the questions and concerns prospective philanthropists have about giving, who the intermediaries are that you should form relationships with, and what is important to donors when they’re making the decision to give.

The toolkit isn’t a quick read – it’s a hefty 210 pages (including all worksheets) – but it’s the most comprehensive guide for prospective philanthropists we’ve ever seen and it will certainly help you better understand philanthropic mindset, motivations and roadblocks.

To access the document and to see Caitriona Fay’s video introduction to the Toolkit, click here.

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