How to Start Your Own Philanthropy


You’re proud of the organizations you support, especially at this giving time of year.

But many women are drawn to do something more than give money: by starting a niche philanthropic project or group they’re passionate about.

Social entrepreneurship, as it’s called, can encompass everything from a corporation that embraces a certain cause to a small non-profit run by a woman in her community.

Stacy Francis founded Savvy Ladies, which offers free financial seminars for women in New York City, as a non-profit complement to her for-profit wealth advisory service. “I wanted all women,regardless of income, to have access to good advice,” she says.

In the nearly 10 years since Francis launched the Savvy Ladies, she’s learned a few things about starting—and running—your own social enterprise:

    • Treat it like a business. Passion may drive you to launch a philanthropic project, but you still need a plan for sustaining it. Francis created a 50-page blueprint when she established her organization. (“It was more painful than giving birth,” says the mom of two.)



  • Build a team. The people you serve with your new philanthropy will come to rely on you—for money, time, services, etc. “Be sure you have the resources to come through,” Francis advises, either from volunteers, fundraising, or your own pocket.

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Big giver. What are the causes you’re most passionate about?