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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

New Ethical Gift Guide Materials Support Donors with Year-End Gifting Decisions

Illustration: Katie Chen '22

The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics announces a new resource in the area of social sector ethics. The Ethical Giving Guide: Finding Your Personal Mission provides guidance as many individual donors and family foundations are faced with new challenges and considerations as they prepare to give this season.

In response to that need, Joan Harrington, director, Social Sector Ethics, with contribution by Anita Varma, assistant director, Social Sector Ethics and Journalism & Media Ethics, authored this guide as a resource to help think through how to define your personal mission for giving.

The goal of this guide is to give donors a set of steps to utilize when making giving decisions and to make the decisions more meaningful to the donors, nonprofits, and the clients they serve.

“The pandemic, racial and economic justice issues, and natural disasters have amplified the challenge for people with means to give and to decide where their donations ought to go,” Harrington writes. On top of that, donors feel challenged in deciding what to give, where to give, and how to give. Without creating a personal mission for giving, it is difficult to identify what philanthropies you are passionate about and would like to support.

As you prepare to give this season, consider the five major philosophies of giving highlighted in the guide to help you identify what motivates your giving. Also think about what nonprofit activities interest you most and where you may give geographically. Use the guide to help ensure your donation will have the greatest possible impact.

Find your personal mission at

Dec 1, 2020


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