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“It has been such a great pleasure working with Sarah. I talk to all my friends and rave about what a wonderful experience this has been. She helped me keep my feet on the ground and encouraged my enthusiasm and inspiration—at the same time!”

~Morgan, 1st-time philanthropist 

Morgan: Creating an Effective Giving Plan 
How Sarah Hopper of Sound Philanthropy Helped a First-Time Philanthropist


The Challenge

When an unexpected wealth event left Morgan with a newfound capacity to give—and time to dedicate to giving—she knew she was ready to embark on her own philanthropic journey. But, as excited and enthusiastic as she was, she had no prior experience with philanthropy. She needed an introduction to the process of philanthropic giving and to the early-planning work necessary to be successful. She needed a giving plan.


The Solution

Over my 20+ years as a philanthropic consultant, I’ve developed a customizable three-step philanthropy planning process that has helped individuals—including Morgan—and families launch their philanthropic careers. 


First (Step 1), I guided Morgan through the process of identifying her core values and her priority areas of interest—this would become the foundation of her giving plan. I then guided her through operational structure planning to establish parameters for decision-making, time commitment, family involvement, giving style, and budget. At the end of this discovery process, I presented a detailed Plan & Recommendation Report, which covered implementation and short- and long-term goals, and which we reviewed and refined together (Step 2). 


In the final phase (Step 3), I arranged for Morgan to meet with both field experts and seasoned philanthropists, who shared personal insights and wisdom. I coordinated site visits to three local, globally-focused organizations. This broad exposure to experts, peers, and nonprofits working in her areas of interest helped narrow the focus and further refine the giving plan. 

The Result

Through an intensive and hands-on immersion process, I helped Morgan identify purpose, develop confidence, and build an operational platform for a lifetime of thoughtful, intentional, and meaningful giving. This platform included:

  • A clear and focused mission statement and guiding principles.

  • Recommendations for parameters and structure related to family involvement.

  • A personalized Criteria Checklist for evaluating potential grantees.

  • A budget structure that reflects strategic goals and grantmaking priorities.

  • Resources and a qualified list of prospective grantees.


Effective philanthropy is about clear focus and efficient tools and systems. But it’s much more than that, too—there are intangible qualities that go beyond efficiency and impact. I work closely with each client to make this profoundly personal experience one of great joy, growth, and meaning. What began as a business-minded inquiry into philanthropy became a life-changing, emotional, and moving transformation for Morgan, culminating in a trip to Africa with her step-daughter to see the work of her grantees first-hand. 


With her new, comprehensive, effective giving plan, Morgan was equipped to launch her significant philanthropic journey with confidence and enthusiasm. 


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