Protecting Donor Intent

How to Define and Safeguard Your Philanthropic Principles

By: Jeffrey J. Cain
Published: Feb 2012
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Donors have left fortunes to charitable purposes, only to have their money given to causes they would never have supported. All too often, the trustees and staff of grantmaking institutions drift from intended goals, lose accountability, or pay insufficient attention to the principles that governed their founders’ charitable giving. In some cases, assets have been put to uses that would have repelled the original benefactors, turning a generous and well-intentioned gift into a punchline. This guidebook offers detailed guidance to philanthropists who want to ensure that the assets they dedicate to charity are disbursed as they intend. It identifies common pitfalls, explains relevant tradeoffs, and describes successful strategies used by other donors. It lays a broad range of options before you, and suggests ways you can define, secure, and perpetuate your charitable intentions.