Contributing your full self, the best that you can be, is important in any kind of enterprise. In small-staffed philanthropy, it’s essential. Small funders who’ve made significant, outsized impact often say the knowledge, relationships, “street savvy,” and reputation they leveraged played the crucial role. They will say, “Money wasn’t the most important thing. It was really about being a catalyst, making things happen.”

If impact comes from using one’s knowledge, skill, talent, and passion, how does one access more of the powers within? And how can you align your powers with your broader aspirations and moral compass?

One powerful way is to spend some dedicated time looking inward to find “your guiding purpose,” and working over time to align your work in philanthropy with that purpose. Achieving better alignment helps you integrate your passion, knowledge, and talents with the needs and opportunities in your community and the world.

Think of your guiding purpose as something that gives you the feeling that you are doing what you are meant to do. Through your philanthropic work, it expresses itself as a personal and individual quest to accomplish or bring about some change in the world. Following a moral or ethical call to service or leadership around some cause could be one form. A guiding purpose could also be a quest to develop and use a unique talent, quality, or skill you possess, or to respond to what you see as sparks of potential in the work of someone you might want to support.

Read the full article about your guiding purpose in philanthropy by John Richardson and Andy Carroll at Exponent Philanthropy