The Philanthropy Toolkit

Additional Resources


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BoardSource is a 501(c)(3) organization that offers a range of tools, resources, and research data to increase board effectiveness and strengthen organizational impact within the nonprofit sector. BoardSource has developed a list of topics that addresses the fundamental aspects of nonprofit board service. BoardSource also offers trainings on board leadership for nonprofit organizations for an annual membership fee. 

“Choosing a Nonprofit Board” video by Stanford Graduate School of Business

This video walks you through the process of deciding to serve on a board. 


Learn more about effective philanthropy


Giving Done Right: Effective Philanthropy and Making Every Dollar Count by Phil Buchanan (2019)

Published by Public Affairs Books, an Imprint of the Perseus Books Group

This book discusses the experiences and lessons learned from multiple major philanthropists, offering insights, examples, and tools to guide donors in their giving.

Inspired Philanthropy: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Giving Plan and Leaving a Legacy by Tracy Gary, 3rd edition (2007)

Published by Jossey-Bass 

This book helps donors create giving and legacy plans and explains how to partner with advisors and nonprofits in their philanthropy.


Learn with other donors


If you are interested in starting your own giving circle, consult United Philanthropy Forum’s “Handbook for Giving Circle Hosts.”




Involve your family in your philanthropy

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors “Talking to your Family About Philanthropy” Guide

This guide briefly reviews why you might consider talking with family members about philanthropy and when it might be appropriate. It also looks at how to prepare for such a dialogue and what topics might be covered. Key questions provide an avenue for reflection and engagement. 


Involve the next generation

Many next generation philanthropists prefer to engage with giving structures designed specifically for them. If your children or grandchildren are ready to dive deeper into your family’s philanthropy, below are some organizations that can help. There are also regional and local organizations that work specifically with next generation donors. 

National Center for Family Philanthropy

The National Center for Family Philanthropy is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to families who give and those who support them. They provide resources and expertise to support family philanthropy, including advisory boards, events and webinars, a speakers bureau, and research.

Resource Generation

Resource Generation is an online platform with local chapters in major metropolitan areas for young people with wealth, ages 18–35, seeking to make transformative change through an equitable distribution of resources. 

Generation Impact: How Next Gen Donors Are Revolutionizing Giving by Sharna Goldseker

This book offers firsthand accounts and expert analysis of the innovative strategies next-gen donors are beginning to pursue, and offers advice to families, advisors, and nonprofits on how to engage these rising donors.

Next Gen Fellows Program

Next Gen Fellows Program is a six-month training fellowship for dynamic leaders roughly 18–35 years old who are involved in all types of foundations as current or soon-to-be trustees or staff. The program is designed to prepare the next generation for leadership roles and offers online learning seminars, conferences, and mentorship.


Giving Compass is a not-for-profit online portal aggregating and curating quality content related to philanthropy: impact philanthropy articles, news, charitable organizations, and events. Donors can create a personalized experience based on their focus areas, expertise, and location, interact with others in private and secure groups, receive a weekly newsletter, and more. 





Review and weigh considerations when choosing a giving vehicle


Tax implications

Capital gains tax – It is generally more tax-effective to donate appreciated investments or assets held for more than a year than it is to donate cash. This is because contributing appreciated assets to a public charity may eliminate capital gains tax on the sale of those assets and thereby increase your giving. Publicly traded stock, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, restricted stock, privately held shares (C corporation, S corporation, and limited partnership interests), initial public offerings, real estate, and private equity and hedge fund interests can all be tax-advantaged gifts to charity.

Income tax – When donors make a charitable contribution they may take a charitable deduction on their tax return as long as they itemize their deductions. The size of the deduction is limited based on the assets donated. Discuss the current rates with your advisor.

Federal income tax bracket –  The higher your tax bracket, the more valuable your deduction. Those with higher incomes are taxed progressively at a higher rate. 

Estate tax –  Charitable giving reduces assets from an estate for tax purposes. Although most people are not subject to Federal Estate Tax, there are other tax strategies to consider. When considering your bequests, donors may help their family reduce taxes by leaving some types of assets, like stock, to heirs and donating other types of assets, such as traditional IRAs, to charity.

For more information on the tax implications of your philanthropy, refer to the Stanford PACS Guide to Effective Philanthropy’s Section 1: Giving Vehicles.

Impact investing


Regardless of which giving vehicles you select, you may decide to align your values not only with your philanthropic dollars but also with your for-profit investment dollars. Impact investments are made in companies, organizations, and funds in order to create social and environmental impact as well as financial returns. They can range from pooled investments made with a social screen (i.e., in companies promoting social good) to investments in nonprofit organizations or social enterprises. Impact investment allows funders to play a key role in helping for-profit organizations scale and to widen their social impact by demonstrating the viability of a new market or business. It also provides an opportunity to bring the innovation and resources of the private sector to the social sector. Impact investments may generate returns that are market rate or sub-market rate.

Your choice of giving vehicle may influence the type of impact investing you can carry out.  For instance, LLCs (see Section II above) have no restriction on types of investments employed, while private foundations must comply with different restrictions. We recommend working with legal and investment professionals if you are considering incorporating impact investing into your philanthropic strategy.

Impact investing is an emerging field with developing methods and terminology. There are many resources to guide new investors, some of which are listed below:

Impact investing category from Stanford Social Innovation Review

Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) is a quarterly magazine-cum-website about social innovation published by Stanford PACS. SSIR produces many topics on impact investing to keep you up-to-date with the sector. 

Impact Investing Resources from Change Catalyst and the Omidyar Network

This resource list consists of guides, case studies, books, reports, videos, glossaries, and articles to deepen your understanding of the impact investing sector.  



Curated online lists of organizations

Philanthropic Issue Funds: Impact Opportunities for Donors and Nonprofits

This research paper by the Raikes Foundation outlines the landscape of philanthropic issue funds, the different types of offerings, the key players, and the operating models.  

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) is an online resource to help donors make more thoughtful disaster-related giving decisions and direct their contributions to disaster relief and response—either through funds set up by CDP or through nonprofit organizations working locally. CDP conducts their own due diligence to assess nonprofit organizations involved in relief and response work. 

Vet organizations

Philanthropy and Strategy – Online Course by Paul Brest at Stanford PACS 

For a deeper dive into learning how to assess an organization’s strategy and evaluation process beyond the research required during due diligence, consider enrolling in Stanford University’s free and self-paced online course on the Essentials of Program Strategy and Evaluation. This course is designed for individuals who wish to design a thoughtful and strategic approach to their philanthropy and was created by Paul Brest, former dean of Stanford Law School and former president of the Hewlett Foundation.