Is your charitable giving consistent with how you like to solve problems?
The WiserGiving® Style Quiz presents different ways to impact seven social issues. Which would you fund?
Choose up to two per question.
Building Movements efforts inspire and support people to take action, together, to achieve deep and lasting social, cultural or political change. Activities often include grassroots organizing, public education, media campaigns, and social action. Examples include: Occupy Wall Street, Anti-Bullying campaigns, Pro-Choice, and the Tea Party.
Description: You have a big-picture perspective and take a long-term view of how to drive lasting change by influencing society's opinion on an issue. You are a risk-taker and activist; giving money, time, and a voice to the issues you care about.
Champions of Building Movements focus on creating momentum and achieving critical mass around an issue in order to make it self-sustaining. These efforts aim to change society's perspectives on an issue by increasing awareness, attracting more people to participate, and creating a tipping point. Activities often include grassroots organizing, public education, outreach/media campaigns, coalition development, and creating social pressure. Examples include Occupy Wall Street, Anti-Bullying campaigns, Pro-Choice, and the Tea Party.
You are drawn to organizations and efforts that engage people in solving problems and speaking out. You believe that positive change happens when people take control and demand results. You are more likely to want to fund efforts that use research to make a case, rather than to fund the research itself. You tend to be a consistent investor over time and are patient about results because it takes time to organize a groundswell of opinion or a large number of people. You believe that, "if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together."
Implications: In evaluating different organizations, you will want to know how many people they involve; whether their numbers have been growing; whether the organization works in collaboration with other organizations; and how they are measuring progress.
Look for organizations that connect local efforts with national work as a way to both extend the footprint of current efforts as well as to tap deeper resources and leverage prior work. Also, look for demonstrated success in developing partnerships with other leadership groups that can influence and bring aboard other communities, or which can work on the same issue from a different vantage point -- e.g., gays and lesbians partnering with Hispanic groups to create support for same-sex marriage.
Direct Service initiatives deliver direct assistance to individuals, one person at a time. Sometimes services are aimed at emergency relief needs (e.g. natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina) and other times at more chronic problems (e.g. alleviating hunger). Direct Services help individuals get what they need to survive, and then to acquire a sense of personal well-being and empowerment. In turn, these individuals can influence and change the lives of others around them.
Description: You are drawn to organizations that work with people and populations at risk. You believe that private giving is an essential supplement to public support systems in order to address urgent issues of survival. You are comfortable supporting emergency interventions that provide immediate relief. Direct Service investors are more likely short-term, results-oriented investors, giving support to different organizations at different moments depending on what the most urgent need is at any given time. While you have a sense of urgency and seek immediate relief, ultimately, you believe it is best to "teach one to fish, rather than give them a fish."
Implications: Since Direct Service investors want to see immediate impact, when evaluating organizations, you will want to look for efficient, well-run organizations. High-performing Direct Services organizations often have well-developed data tracking systems and can provide good information on the demographics of the populations it serves. Also look for client stories that demonstrate the value of the services delivered. Finally, since you also want to have the direct service be a catalyst to bring about transformative change for the recipients, effective organizations will have partnerships with organizations working on the policy angle of the issue being addressed, as well collaborations with other direct service organizations serving the same population. This leverages resources to have more far-reaching benefits for the individual.
Community foundations, women's foundations, and local United Way branches are typically good resources to help find the most effective local organizations providing direct services in your local area.
Making Change Stick champions support organizations that are the watch-dogs and protectors of social change issues. These organizations monitor policies and practices in order to defend and protect human, social and civil rights where there is enduring opposition or controversy. People with this problem-solving style tend to be deeply concerned about specific issues or may have strong ideological points of view. Examples of Making Change Stick organizations include AARP, NAACP, National Council of La Raza, Sierra Club and NARAL. These organizations generally monitor legislation, court rulings, and public policy in order to ensure that their issues and positions of interest continue to be protected.
Description: You recognize that public sentiment on issues is in constant flux, and that without explicit ongoing effort, progress can stall or even be reversed. You have a very long-term focus, staying power, and resiliency -- all of which are essential since the job is never finished, and requires constant effort to sustain momentum.
You tend to be drawn to key ideological issues, and realize that these issues require ongoing, holistic efforts to permanently effect change. You often need to redefine the issue in the minds of the public (e.g. assumptions of boys as bullies), which requires diverse approaches including research, consumer education campaigns, public awareness building, public policy, alliance building, and direct services.
Implications: Since Making Change Stick efforts often focus on holistic, diverse strategies on a specific issue, successful organizations are often focused on just one topic. They typically have a diverse funding base, strong private-public partnerships, and diverse coalitions which enable them effectively to exert influence across many facets of the issue. When investing in local efforts, be sure that the local organizations have strong associations with national efforts to tap broader resources and experiences.
Increasing Effectiveness strategies strengthen organizations and develop leaders who work for the social good as a powerful way to accelerate and sustain positive change. Increasing Effectiveness efforts aim to increase an organization's long term sustainability and impact by sharpening strategic planning capabilities, improving efficiency, building capacity, and/or scaling services. Examples include leadership development programs, developing best practices, implementing technology improvements, strategic planning, and scaling-up to expand or open new service outlets.
Description: You want "smart" organizations working on your issues and you are willing to help them get smart. You believe that good organizations and programs are in place, but they can be more impactful by improving the efficiency, building capacity and/or scaling services. You are frustrated when organizations don't have the proper tools and resources to be most effective, and you enjoy investing in these even if they are not "sexy" solutions.
Your charitable giving is often characterized by patient investing over time to develop a long-term, sustainable, high impact organization. You want specific, measureable outcomes to justify your investment, but are comfortable that the outcomes are not always of high profile. You value multiple aspects of organizational effectiveness: a strong, committed leadership team; excellent strategic planning; and effective operations.
Implications: In looking for organizations to invest in, you are driven by the organization's purpose and alignment with your own social change interests. You look for evidence that the organization is inherently strong and viable, but performing below its potential due to specific obstacles and limitations. It may have already conducted an objective data-driven needs assessment, examined alternative solutions, analyzed potential outcomes and identified priorities that make sense given history, experience, skills and passions. Or it may be a smaller or younger organization that needs help at the assessment/analysis level. It is an organization that has adequate short-term operational funding to warrant investing in non-operational areas or expanding into other geographies or services.
Public Policy is a strategic approach that creates broad-scale assistance or change by creating, amending, or repealing laws to reflect desired governing principles and funding priorities. Public Policy aims to change how things are done systemically for entire classes of people. Examples include passing state laws to permit same-sex marriage, mandating safety seats for children age 8 and younger, and health care reform. Some examples of organizations that make public policy a centerpiece of their work include AARP, Human Rights Campaign, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Description: You believe that government is the source for systemic change and that charitable giving is a way to catalyze government into action. You believe that in order for change to affect the well-being of many and become permanent, it ultimately needs to be incorporated into the legal fabric and standards of society. You recognize the power of being able to support public policy and advocacy work with tax deductible gifts to 501(c)3 public charities. You sometimes support direct lobbying and political action through 501(c)4 nonprofits, even though you know these gifts will not quality for a tax deduction. Some examples of high-profile policy work include drunk driving laws, car safety standards, health care reform's Affordable Care Act, and environmental standards.
You are a long-haul, high-risk funder, prepared to go the distance for an issue about which you have passion. You know that the effort to influence is sometimes as important as the influence itself. Public policy is the culmination of creating public awareness and support for an issue, and broad recognition of the importance and urgency for definitive action. You are drawn to organizations that have demonstrated success in the policy and political environments.
Implications: In evaluating organizations to support, you will want to know what "campaigns" they have been associated with and with what results. Typical success drivers include demonstrable coalitions across diverse groups, effective collaboration with groups focusing on different aspects of a given issue, and having significant relationships with public policy influencers.
Research and Big Ideas refers to creating different ways of thinking about problems and developing new and effective solutions by investing in research and development. It often includes furthering the knowledge base around an issue, in order to reframe or give new meaning to the issue. By viewing the issues differently, better strategies can often be developed. An example is reframing the poor state of education as a national security issue, where the need to build intellectual capital is viewed as a key driver of economic prosperity and foreign independence, which in turn safeguard our national security.
Description: You are drawn to break-through efforts and innovative ways of thinking about problems. You have a high tolerance for risk. You seek systemic, transformative change by thoroughly understanding an issue and addressing its root causes. Examples of research that reshaped issues and brought greater public attention include the importance of early childhood education, the economics of the clean energy economy, and quantifying the scope and consequences of human trafficking in the U.S.
You are an adventurous giver with a long-term vision. You want to know who is working on the cutting edge of issues and provoking debate. You often want to be involved in the conversation, and to give your time as well as your money to these efforts.
Implications: In evaluating organizations or opportunities, you will want to know their track record of success in developing new break-through ideas and new discoveries. While the idea is important, it is equally important that there is an actual change created through implementing or acting on the insights from the discovery. Therefore, seeing demonstrable practical implementation of their new ideas is an important performance indicator. Another factor to take into account when evaluating an organization is how objective or non-partisan they are, which can be often ascertained by the level of funding independence.
Much of the Research and Big Ideas data come from national or international think tanks, research labs, consulting firms, and issue-based associations. Examples include Pew Charitable Trust, Aspen Institute, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, McKinsey & Company, and the American Cancer Society.