There is a lot of justifiable attention paid these days to some of the BIG questions about philanthropy and the philanthropic process: Why give? How much to give? What to give to? What difference does it make?

In my conversations with donor families, I have discovered a question that gets less public attention but is a significant source of personal reflection for these families: How do we give? What donors have taught me is that how we give may say at least as much about who we are and what we value as donors as why, what, and how much.

  • Give with respect. Respectful relationships among family members, trustees, and staff can elevate the conversation and add pleasure to the work together.
  • Give with integrity. It can be very difficult to be candid in the power-based world that is grantmaking and grant-seeking, but openness about your goals and process can enhance that relationship and ease the difficulty.
  • Give with discipline. Encourage the discipline of good policy and practice.
  • Give with flexibility. Having basic discipline gives you the knowledge and freedom to be flexible when that is called for.
  • Give with curiosity. Philanthropy is a huge adventure...but it is always a learning opportunity.

How we give. Perhaps no less or no more important than why, what, and how much, but rich with meaning and possibilities.

Read the full list of family philanthropy tips by Virginia Esposito from National Center for Family Philanthropy.