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#Philanthropy — 25.01.2016

Philanthropy: Giving Meaning to Your Wealth Needs Careful Planning

Nathalie Sauvanet

Using your wealth to achieve positive social impact can prove more complicated than expected. Just like the management of your assets, a successful philanthropic project calls for thought, analysis and follow-up.

I’ve succeeded professionally and now I’d like to give back.. Where do I start?

Firstly, you need to identify the causes that matter to you as well as the population you want to help. Education, culture, the environment, early childhood, the elderly … anything is possible with the right approach and careful planning from the beginning until the end of your project.  There are a number of considerations that could be the key to your success:  estimate the amount of funds and time required, verify the feasibility of your project, study the various giving or legacy mechanisms available and the most appropriate philanthropic structure (non-profit foundation, donor-advised fund or charitable trust, endowment fund, association, etc.). 

How can I ensure the usefulness and sustainability of my initiative?

Giving is satisfying but seeing the concrete results of your actions and their lasting impact is even better. Launching your own philanthropic initiative and guaranteeing its sustainability is a lifelong project in itself. That is why it is essential to have support and guidance along the way, whether in establishing impact measurement methodology, in creating structures to guarantee the viability of your initiative, or finding those who could take over from you.

I don’t want to create my own project. I’d rather support an existing cause by making a donation. What  options do I have?

Directly supporting an existing project or organisation is another way to give meaning to your wealth. In a number of countries, governments encourage such individual philanthropic initiatives through tax incentives (income tax deduction or tax credits).  For instance, the Fondation de l’Orangerie for Individual Philanthropy, established by BNP Paribas in 2008, selects original projects with strong social impact. Open for client donations from €50,000, the Foundation monitors the proper use of funds and provides donors with personalised reports on their chosen projects. Last year our donors’ generosity funded the renovation of the Carracci Gallery in the Palazzo Farnese in Rome. Other projects supported by our client donors include a programme for social integration through arts and culture in primary schools or care for children suffering from diabetes in developing countries.  If the Fondation de l'Orangerie's programmes do not appeal to you, our individual philanthropy advisers are on hand to help with beneficiary selection based on your personal criteria. 

And finally…

Giving meaning to your wealth requires a global approach with consideration of wealth planning issues. That is why it is important to seek the advice of philanthropy experts as well as wealth planning advisers. . Well thought out, your philanthropic project will meet the needs of those you wish to help. Well analysed, your financial commitment will be optimised.