Guides to Giving Well

These publications were developed to provide donors with guidance, case studies and tools for thoughtful, effective philanthropy. This section of our website will be updated regularly as this series develops.

The Philanthropy Roadmap Series

Your Philanthropy Roadmap

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors' Your Philanthropy Roadmap is the first in a series of guides to engage and educate donors - notably new and emerging donors - in planning, implementing  and sustaining effective philanthropy programs. Part of our Philanthropy Roadmap resources to support effective giving by donors worldwide, this guide sets up the framework for the topics in the series, as well as introduces the approach RPA has been using successfully for some time to guide donors along their philanthropic journey. For the complete Roadmap series, visit

Latest Guides in the Series


Supporting Social Entrepreneurship

Supporting Social Entrepreneurship is designed to help philanthropists evaluate whether they want to include support for social entrepreneurs in their giving or investment programs, and how to begin doing so.
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Impact Investing

Introducing readers to the world of impact investing, this guide is expressly written for donors who may wish to complement traditional grantmaking approaches as they invest their assets to promote change. [Read More]

Major Gifts and Naming Opportunities

This guide aims to help both emerging and established philanthropists think about  the different aspects of making a naming gift or any major gift with defining impact, including key questions to consider so impact best matches inspiration, maximizing potential and minimizing risk. [Read More]

The Rockefellers: A Legacy of Giving

This guide reflects on the ideas, values, rituals and legacy of the Rockefeller family's seven generations of giving. [Read More]

Diversity, Inclusion and Effective Philanthropy

This guide provides a fresh perspective on how social diversity and inclusiveness can be used as practical considerations to achieve more impactful results in philanthropic giving. [Read More]

Women and Giving

Women and Giving addresses specific considerations for women donors as they approach their philanthropy. [Read More]

Investing in Leadership

Investing in Leadership focuses on the importance of looking at an organization's leadership as part of the grantmaking process, and offers questions to pose to organizations before giving. [Read More]

Making Change Happen

Making Change Happen offers guidance on creating an outcome-based giving strategy and monitoring its progress along the way. [Read More]

Giving in Challenging Times

Times of economic hardship can provide unique challenges and opportunities for philanthropy. This guide looks at important considerations donors should face when giving during challenging times. [Read More]

Setting a Time Horizon

Setting a Time Horizon discusses some of the main ways to evaluate and decide on the lifespan of a giving program, from spending down a foundation to endowing in perpetuity.  [Read More]

Finding Your Focus in Philanthropy

Finding Your Focus in Philanthropy offers guidance in framing and narrowing issue areas, allowing givers to explore and express motivations and issue areas.  [Read More]

Talking to Your Family About Philanthropy

Talking to Your Family About Philanthropy reviews why you might consider talking with family members about philanthropy and when it might be appropriate. It also looks at how to prepare for such a dialogue and what topics might be covered. [Read More]

Giving as a Couple

This guide sets out key considerations for donors who give as a couple, and poses questions to help donors examine how they might approach this particular form of partnership. [Read More]

Assessing Impact

Assessing Impact offers an overview of the very complicated topic of evaluation in philanthropy. It looks at why assessment is important and offers guidance on the development of an appropriate and effective assessment strategy. [Read More]

The Giving Commitment: Knowing Your Motivation

Knowing Your Motivation explores the ways through which donors can identify what motivates their philanthropy, and offers suggestions on creating or refining a meaningful giving strategy. [Read More]


First Steps in the Philanthropic Journey: A Design for Giving

Charitable giving can—and should—be a source of great personal satisfaction for donors who use their resources to support organizations doing important work. It can also be a complex process with seemingly endless options in approach, strategy, and execution.

In creating a plan for giving, donors are faced with decisions about areas of interest, type of grant, length of commitment, and desired impact. In order to ensure that your philanthropy is meaningful and rewarding, it is important to examine your goals, style, and values to find the approach that will work best for you. [Read More]


What Is My Giving Style?

If you were to ask a donor, “What type of donor are you,” he or she might pause and respond with another question: “What kinds of donors are there?”

A number of observers of philanthropy have written about different types of philanthropists. While categorizing donors into types may be useful, most philanthropists’ gifts will fall along a spectrum of giving styles. Donors may find themselves pulled to supporting direct services and write a check to an organization whose sole purpose is to feed the hungry. Later, they may be moved to make a gift that addresses the root causes of hunger, such as the lack of jobs or a social safety net. [Read More]