Like a lot of organizations, we have a monthly all-staff meeting. At the top of our agenda, we list our company values. We don’t read over them or discuss them at every meeting, but having our values listed helps us make decisions in line with those values.
As consultants to numerous nonprofit organizations, we are constantly awed by the work our clients do and the passion they exhibit for their work. Our values include supporting that work. That’s why in 2021, we created The Brighter Strategies Brighter Future Fund, a donor-advised fund.
A donor-advised fund (DAF) is a charitable giving vehicle administered by a public charity created to manage charitable donations on behalf of organizations, families, or individuals. Donor-advised funds are popular with donors because they are easy for the donor (us) to maintain while still allowing the donor to control where the money goes. DAFs are popular with administrators because they can offer this service to clients with fewer transaction costs than if the funds were handled privately. By aggregating multiple donors and processing high numbers of charitable transactions, DAFs make giving easier for more people.
One of our values is that lifelong learning should be everyone’s goal. We support our employees’ professional and personal development and often host learning opportunities for our team. The Brighter Future Fund supports educated-related nonprofits and requests in the D.C. area. Our fund is hosted at the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia.
How We Created Our Donor-Advised Fund
Our Donor-Advised Fund started with a different idea. Knowing that we wanted to “give back” and be socially responsible members of our community, we looked into the idea of becoming a “B-Corp.” After some research, we realized that was not the right move to take now. So, we looked into other ideas. Once we settled on the idea of a Donor-Advised Fund, we conducted a survey to determine people’s interests and thoughts and discussed the matter as a group. There were some differences of opinions about what the geographic and subject focus should be. There were also disagreements about whether or not the fund should support current or past clients, and if so, should it only support current or past clients. In the end, we decided on both a geographic and topic focus and that the fund would be open to any organization.
The Future of the Fund
Currently, our DAF is a growing phase. As a company, we are making regular contributions to it. Employees and others who support the mission are also welcome to contribute to the fund. We hope to have enough money to begin issuing grants to organizations in the next few years.
As a growing organization, we share many of the same questions and concerns that our clients have. We also share their passion for making a change in the world. The Brighter Strategies Brighter Future Fund allows us to take positive action towards change. Not only that, the process of creating the fund helped us solidify our decision-making processes. The process gave us extra insight into how similar-sized organizations might struggle with similar decisions. We don’t do development consulting, but if you have questions about how the process of making a decision like this works, we’re happy to chat.