Clarifying Your Philanthropic Purpose

A vitally important step in safeguarding donor intent is defining and clarifying your mission statement.



To many, donor intent is a simple concept and creating a clear mission statement seems to be a straightforward task. But the reality is that too often philanthropists lean on people's altruism or good intentions to interpret what they meant when they defined their mission.

When philanthropists fail to make their vision and priorities clear, donor intent is easily eroded. Defining your mission can take time. In the absence of clear principles laid down during your lifetime, though, your goals and priorities are likely to be forgotten or ignored. Leaving the interpretation of your ideas to family members, trustees, and, in the last resort, courts has led to many disappointments. No mission statement can fully protect you, but it will give those whom you have selected to carry out your legacy the tools to advance your interests.

In our 25 years of experience, The Philanthropy Roundtable has gathered real-world stories of how philanthropists have set their purpose, learned from their mistakes, and then transitioned their mission statement from ambiguous to clear. The Philanthropy Roundtable can help you build a well-specified mission statement, decipher what works and what doesn't, and provide the practical steps to clarify your philanthropic purpose.