Foreign Policy Blogs

Why you need a Lawyer, a CPA, and a Philanthropic Advisor…

The increasing professionalization of (Western) Philanthropy has left most of us, the average check writer, in the dust.  Professionalization is not necessarily a bad thing, but it elicits a similar answer to questions of “why I am unable to do my husband’s treasury job” and “why I need a lawyer to help me buy a house”.  Professional industries are complex – and its always nice to have a friendly guide.

No matter your wealth, you can participate in philanthropy.  The barriers to entry are lowering by leaps and bounds – and the spectrum is getting longer.  Donate at your corporate United Way drive, join a giving circle, volunteer your time as a skilled volunteer, loan money to a farmer in Asia, buy a food-pack in the grocery story checkout…  Even if you are strategic about your interest areas, you may find yourself asking – what is the right combination of these actions for my personal philanthropy?

Financial vehicles for giving and philanthropic advisors already exist in your town, but what makes you confident they have *all* the answers?  Aren’t they limited by knowledge, scope, international boundaries?  What if they weren’t?  Or what if those barriers were lowered, so you, the donor, got more, better, newer information?

That’s what is exciting about the launch of the Tactical Philanthropy Knowledge Network – a place for your independent advisor to plug into other advisors and an administrative network of knowledge.   For advisors, it means better communication among experts.  For donors, it means better information on how to give.  For philanthropy, it likely means more professionalization – but if its your money, it means a better, friendly guide.

The Network is still brand new, and its evolution will be exciting.  You can keep up to date on it by following Tactical Philanthropy.

You can still give on your ad-hoc basis, but isn’t it reassuring to know there are professionals out there when you need them.  (Or when you get worn out from trying to understand the entire profession?)