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Effective Matters: Individual Giving Done Right

Date: November 20, 2023

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You’ve heard it before — giving is not like investing, it is not like business, and it is not as easy as is often assumed. Whether you are giving a few hundred dollars a year or allocating gifts in the millions, you will almost certainly find yourself wondering not just where to give, but how to give effectively, and how to ensure your gifts are making a difference. Ahead of Giving Tuesday, the single largest day for individual donations in the country, we offer CEP’s collected resources on how to give well — and effectively — at the individual level.

Read Up: CEP Resources for Donors

Giving Done Right: Effective Philanthropy and Making Every Dollar Count

CEP President Phil Buchanan offers practical examples, frameworks, and data-driven insights to help donors do more good, more quickly, and to avoid predictable errors that lead too many astray. Read more >>

Crucial Donors: How Major Individual Givers Can Best Support Nonprofits

CEP’s Crucial Donors report provides insight into how individual donors can best support nonprofits, digging into how relationships between nonprofits and donors differ from those with staffed foundations, and offering guidance for donors. The report is based on a survey of 198 nonprofit leaders. Read more >>

Donors: 5 Things Nonprofits Want You to Know

From understanding their needs to building strong relationships to how best to approach assessing performance, this guide offers donors guidance on the five most important things nonprofit leaders need their donors to know, based on feedback from more than 100,000 nonprofit leaders.

Find more CEP resources in our Resource Library.

Listen In: CEP’s Podcast, Giving Done Right


Finding Your Lane with Jeremy Lin and Patricia Sun 

Professional basketball player Jeremy Lin (of “Linsanity” fame) and CEO of JLin Marketing Patricia Sun join hosts Phil Buchanan and Grace Nicolette in this episode to discuss using one’s platform for good, finding your authentic path as a donor, and supporting AAPI communities. Listen here >>

The Heart and the Head with Rohini Nilekani

Philanthropist and Giving Pledge signatory Rohini Nilekani talks in depth with our Giving Done Right hosts about what it means to practice trust-based philanthropy, using both the head and the heart to give, and creating a family legacy through philanthropy. Listen here >>

Rooted in Community with Gladys Vega

Executive Director of La Colaborativa, a direct service and advocacy nonprofit, Gladys Vega paints a picture of the profound challenges they faced during the pandemic as well as the positive changes that emerged. She also discusses the role of nonprofits like La Colaborativa in making sustainable change and offers clear advice to donors looking to support community-based organizations. Listen here >>

Like what you’re hearing? There are three seasons of the Giving Done Right podcast. Find them here or wherever you get podcasts. We look forward to returning with a fourth season in 2024!

Hear More: Perspectives from the CEP Blog

Madam C.J. Walker’s Lessons for Giving — and Living — Well“Madam C.J. Walker’s example widens the scope of the history of philanthropy in the U.S., from the prevailing story of the Rockefellers and Carnegies of her time to something quite different and no less important. I hope that our sector can continue to expand the stories we tell about who paved the way, as her example still has so much to teach us today.” – Grace Nicolette, Vice President, Programming and External Relations, CEP

Social Justice Philanthropy and Meeting Next-Gen Donors Where They Are

“Philanthropy has become an increasingly important tool for individuals to drive change and express their values, with Millennial and Gen Z donors particularly engaged in addressing issues of systemic inequality and social justice.” – Elizabeth Dale, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Nonprofit Leadership, Seattle University and Jeannie Infante Sager, Director, Women’s Philanthropy Institute

How Donors Can Put Equity into Practice for More Effective Giving

“If our sector is to change — if we want to see funds allocated in equitable and effective ways — then it is crucial that these equity-based practices in giving come alive for individual donors.” – Jody Chang, Chief Operating and Portfolio Officer, SV2

Various Forms of Generosity Matter, But Let’s Not Lose Sight of Charitable Giving

“It’s well past time to elevate the voices and stories of the vital and effective nonprofits and their staff that exist in every community, doing crucial work — often with and for the most vulnerable among us. They need support and they need it in the form of actual philanthropic donations of actual money.” – Phil Buchanan, President, CEP

Look Further: Additional Resources

GivingTuesday Toolkit for Givers#GiveNative Resources for Giving Tuesday from the Native Ways Federation

Finding and Funding Effective Nonprofit Organizations by Melinda Tuan, written for Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund

The Stanford PACS Philanthropy Toolkit

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