Six basics of wise giving:
5. Develop a strategy
A strategy brings together all elements of your homework stating your goal, investment levels and methods, intended activities and how you will know they are working.
Having identified the goal, you may also identify intermediate outcomes that need to be achieved, to meet the goal. This can be developed into an ‘intervention logic’ that ultimately determines the strategy you will take. Try to be specific and realistic about the timeframe in which you expect to make a difference.
Here are some questions to consider as you develop a strategy:
- Having done an environment scan, what are the areas or initiatives that will achieve your goal – focus on these for your investment.
- Choose your methods of investment. The size of the goal and giving will largely determine the methods.
- Think about the breadth of beneficiaries - is the cause helped better through universal or targeted support or a mixture of both? If you are targeting children in greatest need (e.g. through means-testing, or referrals) how can you avoid creating stigma for those children?
- How will the investment, sponsorship or partnership be communicated to stakeholders?
- How can you measure what your investments are achieving – outputs, intermediate outcomes, proxy measures for desired outcomes etc. These drive how you will review your investments.
The intervention logic describes how your activities, or those actions that are funded from your grants, work towards improving the situation for children.
Overall outcomes will often depend on circumstances beyond your control. However you can still work out the logical steps of how your investments should effect change, and how that will benefit children. From this, you should be able to identify measurable intermediate outcomes that can be used to evaluate the investment at points in time. Determining these ‘evaluation metrics’ before an investment begins, and agreeing them with stakeholders (particularly organisations you invest in), will make subsequent review of investments more fair and transparent.
Going through the process of determining an intervention logic, along with measures of success can shine a light on whether your proposed investments are likely to have the impact you want. In fact, this process is a key to refining what your final strategy is, and how the strategy is operationalised.
Philanthropy New Zealand provides member organisations with advice and support on donation strategies and working collaboratively for greatest impact.