4 Reasons to Focus Your Giving

If we want to maximize the impact of our resources, we’ll want to have in-depth knowledge of a topic, insight into a field, good working relationships, and more. And all of that takes time. Most foundations with few or no staff find they can only give wisely in a couple of areas. Your foundation will benefit whether your focus is on a certain population, issue area, strategy, or specific community.

Consider these compelling reasons for choosing a focus or two:

  1. A focus directs your time and allows you to develop expertise. Boards and staff have limited time; use it wisely by focusing their efforts. A focus allows your key players to know the issues and grantees more intimately and to strategically apply their knowledge, reputations, and influence—all of which can be equally, if not more, powerful than the foundation’s dollars.
  2. It allows foundation leaders to communicate more effectively. A focus will help you to communicate what you do and why to current and potential grantees, fellow funders, elected officials, and others interested in your work. It also allows you to communicate what you don’t do, thus reducing the amount of time nonprofits will spend writing requests for grants they’ll never receive.
  3. A focus provides a framework for decision-making. A focus in hand is a time-saver, allowing decisions about governance, grantmaking, administration, and investments to fall into place.
  4. It creates boundaries. When seasoned foundation leaders advise newcomers, they customarily share the tip: Focus your giving. Foundation work is less overwhelming when boundaries are clear, and foundation leaders are more fulfilled when they have parameters defining the effectiveness of their work.

Read the full article about focused giving at Exponent Philanthropy.