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Aligning Your Values With Your Giving


Every decision we make, whether consciously or not, is influenced by our values. At times, it may just be a gut feeling that something is the right decision – this is your inner values speaking. Or, at times, after making a decision you may second guess your choice or wish you had chosen differently – this is a misalignment of your inner values speaking.

Now, consider if you fully understood the personal values that are important to you and those that do not align. How would knowing these values change your decision-making process? Consider also the times you need to make group decisions. How would knowing the important values for each person in the group help you come to a consensus?

Jason Born, vice president for programs at the National Center for Family Philanthropy, points out that "clearly defined motivations and values are the underpinning of an effective family philanthropy strategy. They articulate a purpose, provide direction, and serve as a measure of accountability. They are also a dynamic and ever-evolving tool to guide donors and their family through the life cycle of their philanthropic effort."

Identifying those values can often be confusing, but our Motivational Values Cards tool helps our donors define their core values.

Headshot of Karen Hrdlicka
Karen Hrdlicka, director of The Center for Family Philanthropy

Recently, Karen Hrdlicka, director of The Center for Family Philanthropy, worked with a business owner who wanted to find a nonprofit to partner with both for his company and his personal philanthropy. As they worked through the tool, he identified the following values as being most important to him:

  • Community: Feeling a meaningful connection to a group of people
  • Loyalty: Being devoted to a person, ideal, duty or cause
  • Relationships: Caring for and spending time with family and friends

It quickly became clear to him through the values exercise why he was looking for that long-term connection to a nonprofit, and it also provided our staff with a strategy to identify appropriate nonprofit partners.

Identifying values can be complex when working with families. This tool, combined with our experienced facilitation, can be used to help you find common ground and discuss differences, which often leads to the development of a family mission statement that can be used during grantmaking to ensure your grants align with your family values.

Your time, treasure, talent and ties are valuable and in high demand.  A little work upfront to identify your values can increase the effectiveness of how you utilize those assets.

To schedule a discussion with Karen, please contact her at 330-436-5640 or

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