5 Donor Types — 5 Creative Solutions (Part 1)

You believe in giving back, helping your community, feeding the hungry, changing the lives of children and elders. You respond to charitable requests and from time to time you ask yourself:

Is my giving meaningful and impactful?

You wonder if you could do more or be more strategic with your charitable giving.

But, what type of donor are you?

In part 1 of our 2-part series we present three Donor Types and how R&D Philanthropy provides creative solutions to help infuse philanthropy with passion and purpose. Which of donor type are you?



You operate a fee-for-service business. As a thank you to one of your clients, you want to make a gift to a charity in their name. You want high impact direct service program options for those in need of food. While usually making charitable decisions independently, you have decided to involve the family in the discussion and decision.


We begin by working with you to establish Giving Criteria, considering the demographic to be serviced, the location and if the gift will support an organization’s core operations or as a stimulus for a new initiative. We then look at the organizations work in the sector (food security) and narrow the options that meet the giving criteria (hot meals vs gift cards). Finally, we consider the desired service delivery location (local, national).

Data Collection:

We conduct an environmental scan of organizations in the sector to identify those that provide programs for hot meals (daily, weekly), agencies that distribute grocery gift cards, and food pantries/food banks. We will speak with direct service providers to ensure a right fit be they local or national in scope.


Through the process we may find that there are collateral issues to consider. For example, many agencies and organizations in this sector also provide complementary programs that promote better eating habits, social development, counseling, and crisis intervention. The findings are presented in an Impact Report that identifies potential options serving different segments of the community.

Next Steps:

After being reviewed first by the donor/donor family, we affirm or refine the giving criteria. To best align with the giving criteria, the donor may wish to narrow the scope (from “food programs” to a project “that puts food into children’s tummies”). Once we have a clear direction, we conduct an in-depth analysis of programs and with the new data, provide a second report ranking the options by impact. The donor/family decides which programs to fund, and steps are taken to connect the donor and the organization.

Follow Up:

We work with the donor/family to monitor the success of the programs through reports or by site visit. We facilitate organization produced reports on projected to actual, according to a predetermined schedule.



You always make end-of-year donations. Being an excellent responder, your giving is unstructured and there never seems to be time to seek out a project of interest. Your giving, while a source of pride, is becoming burdensome and less meaningful.

You need a process that will allow you/your family to “step back” and consider their purpose and passion — what is most important to each decision maker – and align your giving.


R&D Philanthropy will meet with all decision makers to reflect on and articulate their values – what is important. The values drive a set of Giving Criteria to target and prioritize giving to frame the legacy they wish to build. We create a Giving Plan, including a process for evaluating requests and for initiating projects. At the beginning of the year – not the end – the donor/family determines the sum they will allocate in the coming year. We organize and evaluate requests in accordance with the giving criteria and facilitate quarterly Roundtable Giving Meetings where the donor/family consider only those options that meet their giving criteria and make decisions. In the fourth quarter, all unfunded requests are reviewed and may be considered for future gift.


By establishing a process, the donor/family has the bandwidth to initiate a new project and offer organizations the opportunity to respond with proposals. With R&D Philanthropy as their advisor and agent, the family can feel less pressured and freer to make gifts that have a meaningful and lasting impact and organizations can channel their requests and receive a response in a timely manner.



An elderly couple with no children, have close relationships with children in their extended family. The couple are committed to the welfare of the community. The couple have a modest amount of money to provide for their welfare during their lifetimes and until now they have delayed engaging an advisor to help structure and implement their finances and giving going forward.


As advisors, R&D Philanthropy helps the couple clearly articulate their intentions and options for those they specifically wish to assist. We create a realistic plan that meets their objectives and as requested or needed, we reach out to professionals who can properly structure their Wills.

Data Collection:

Following in- depth discussions, the couple wanted to ensure that any money not spent during their lifetimes could be allocated to meet three objectives:

  • Bequests to charitable organizations and individuals important to them.
  • Support to relative children to incentivize them to pursue their education.
  • Residual money to be added to a Donor Advised Fund established during their lifetimes, with income allocated in accordance with their wishes.

We look at the couple’s charitable giving over the past years and create a list of supported organizations. The couple decides which to support by bequest and which to support from residual of their estate. We also create the list of those they wish to incentivize for further education. With proper legal advice, we assist  in structuring options that will provide them with peace of mind that their objectives will be realized.


The legacy of support that they desire can be realized by the establishment of a Family Trust to provide named beneficiaries with a gift once they reached age of majority and an Education Trust to provide funds annually to qualified children helping them with their studies. The Trust allows for any income not allocated in a specific year to be donated as an ongoing charitable legacy. At the conclusion of the Trust periods, any residue goes to the Donor Advised Fund at a Foundation for ongoing giving in their names. As may be required, in addition to an advisory role, we can play an ongoing role as executors.

Achieving their objectives requires careful planning, documentation, follow through, reports and filings to ensure compliance. By addressing their concerns during their lifetimes, they establish a legacy benefiting the generations.


At R&D Philanthropy, we, the individual or family members, and the professional advisors, work as a philanthropic team to ensure that whatever your Donor Type, you can find financial and philanthropic fulfillment today and tomorrow.