The Power of Focus: Q&A With Funders

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It’s difficult to choose among the many good causes to fund: tutoring low-income children, protecting endangered species’ habitats, combating drug use among teens, strengthening your community’s critical nonprofits. Making difficult choices among worthy causes begs the question, How bad can it be to give to multiple good causes? The answer: not bad at all.

Yet, if we ask how to achieve the most with a foundation’s limited resources, rather than simply “do good,” we’re likely to answer the question differently. If we aspire to maximize our impact, we need in-depth knowledge, insight into a field, good working relationships, and more—and all of this takes time.

As a result, many foundations with few or no staff find they can only achieve impact in a couple areas—and they choose to focus their giving on those, whether focusing by population, issue area, strategy, or community.

How might focus increase the power of your giving, and how can you settle on a focus that suits your foundation?

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