The Call to Transformational Philanthropy

On December 24, 2010 Haiti suffered from a massively destructive earthquake. In the days that followed, newsfeeds across the globe shared heart-wrenching images of an aftermath which left an island of rubble, 220,000 people dead and 1,500,000 displaced. Over a few short months, more than $13 billion from charities and nations around the world poured into the country. Immediate needs were met, but much of the good will was lost to waste and greed. As a result, Haiti has yet to recover.

According to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, more than 50% of all disaster support is directed to response and relief. Compare this with the just 12% of disaster giving that is earmarked for reconstruction and recovery. Response and relief support is emotional, spontaneous, and in many regards valuable; however we know this giving does not effectively align with the financial realities faced by a community in times of disaster. Perhaps a different type of philanthropic response would have changed the course for Haiti.

As we inch into the post-COVID reality, what lessons can be learned from historical disaster-giving trends? While a thorough analysis of charitable giving in 2020 has yet to emerge, experts in our field will not be surprised to see that the disaster-giving trend remains true. We know, for example, that over the year, across the country, contributions to food banks skyrocketed while nonprofits that support cancer research, prevention, and advocacy were unable to meet budgetary needs. Meanwhile, foundations, in an attempt to be more responsive during the crisis, broadened support – often drifting outside of core mission elements – and relaxed typical grant reporting and oversight requirements.

Band-aid relief and checkbook giving have their place, but fail to solve the community’s more significant problems. Furthermore, it has come at the expense of valuable mission-driven organizations with focuses on education, the arts, and COVID-sidelined medical research. Now, the role of the strategic transformational giver is particularly valuable as personal philanthropic missions are put to task.



reacts. It’s quick, easy, and spontaneous! Most commonly, transactional giving is an asset in times of crisis.

addresses needs. Often, the purpose of the gift is simple and clear.

responds to an organization. The grant is gifted to philanthropist’s friends, in response to the well written appeal, or the charming Executive Director.

is low impact. The transactional philanthropist requires little in return for their gift. With no expectations, the impact is less.

is modest. Often transactional gifts are comfortable and safe amounts that result in feel good acknowledgment.

helps. The transactional philanthropist feels good helping others.



is proactive. It’s planned and thoughtful. Transformational giving requires an assessment of a more significant problem. It takes time and requires support.

solves problems. Solving problems requires analysis and understanding.

gives to an issue and an idea. Giving in this realm seeks cooperation in problem solving. The transformational giver wants to ensure that entities collaborate to solve problems.

is high impact. The transformational philanthropist desires for their gift to be a change agent. This impact requires relationship building.

is substantial. Solving problems is an investment of time and money. The philanthropist may step outside of their comfort zone.

changes lives! The transformational philanthropist often feels an authentic transformation in their self-worth. It’s an investment in their legacy.



As we transition out of pandemic mode and hit the reset button, we hope that foundations and individuals, like you, with the capacity to give, will reflect on how they can make a lasting impact. Philanthropy is a vital investment tool that changes lives and shapes our community. When done well, it is transformative for donors as they engage in creating meaningful change.

At Empreinte Consulting, helping those who help others is our business, and we are ready to help YOU! Our team of Philanthropic Advisors has supported numerous philanthropists in their decision-making and helped maximize the impact of transformational giving. At a time when generosity and philanthropy are needed more than ever, we can ensure that your mission and vision are fulfilled in a way that genuinely advances the missions you care most about.

What’s your mission? Are ready to invest in your legacy? Are you looking for the recipient of your next bold transformational gift? Your investment in our community may provide one of the most rewarding returns of your life.

How Nonprofits & Philanthropists Can Adapt During COVID-19

This is a unique time in our history as we are all adapting to a new way of living with COVID-19 in our communities.  Nonprofit organizations are living in a world of uncertainty as they must cancel events and limit their interactions with donors. Philanthropic revenue is such a critical part of every nonprofit’s operational budget and there is no question that this virus will put a financial strain on several nonprofits. During this temporary shift in activity, the organizations that plan and strategize will prove to be the most effective moving forward. Ask yourself, will you be prepared to fundraise effectively once this is behind us?

It is easy to panic during these uncertain times and question what steps to take as an organization. However, this may present the perfect opportunity to assess your operations, develop a thoughtful strategic plan and create a clear message of need that will resonate with your donors. Looking inward during this time will allow you to engage your donors in a meaningful way in the future. Nonprofits that are organized, well run and impactful when using philanthropic dollars will continue to be the most appealing to donors and have the greatest impact on our community.

When we council our philanthropic clients, the first thing that we assess is the organizational efficiency of the nonprofits they are looking to support. What is your cost to raise a dollar? How well are you able to clearly articulate the need for philanthropic support and the impact it will have on your mission? Are your nonprofit leaders strategic, thoughtful and mission driven? These are critical questions that will determine whether a donor makes a gift to your nonprofit or chooses another organization. This is especially true for major and principal gift donors.

As an altruistic philanthropist looking to help a mission that is important to you and your family, how do you decide where to allocate your limited budget? This is a critically important question that may not always be easy to answer without proper guidance.

The consultants at Empreinte Consulting bring more than 100 years of collective fundraising experience and are positioned to partner with you during this difficult time. Whether you are a nonprofit looking to develop your strategy and determine how to engage donors, or the philanthropist and corporate leader looking to impact your community, we are here to help. Taking the time now to develop a plan will make all the difference in the world and ensure the greatest impact on our community.


 Marc Misiurewicz


Empreinte Consulting, LLC

The value of a Philanthropic Advisor

As an altruistic philanthropist, you look to have the greatest impact possible on the missions you care about most. Giving of yourself is one of the most important and intimate things you will do in life. When making the decision to give of yourself to advance important missions, you often consult your lawyer, accountant, and/or investment advisor. For many of you—especially those of you with complex business needs—each advisor plays an important role on your professional “team”. They help ensure that you are making the best decision based on your personal situation. However, there is one additional subject matter expert that would help you tremendously…

A Philanthropic Advisor has skills that complement those of the other professionals who provide you advice on legal, tax, and financial matters. We have worked in nonprofit organizations and understand the power of philanthropy in a way that many will never know. If you are already giving to charity or considering a gift at some point in the future, connecting with a Philanthropic Advisor at Empreinte Consulting, LLC can help you create a thoughtful and personal giving plan to make a meaningful difference on the causes you care about most. When making a decision this important, why wouldn’t you want an expert guide in the process?

Here are six reasons to team up with a Philanthropic Advisor from Empreinte:

1. We know the options. Charitable giving can be a complex field. There are so many ways in which you can have an impact. Which way is the best for you? The Philanthropic Advisors at Empreinte Consulting are well-versed in the various giving vehicles and strategies that you may want to consider. Should you establish a family foundation or a Donor Advised Fund (or both)? A Charitable Remainder Trust or a Charitable Lead Trust? Our Philanthropic Advisors can help you evaluate these options and make smart, informed decisions.

2. We know the causes. In contrast to many financial service firms that offer Donor Advised Funds, Empreinte Consulting is staffed with experts who can provide you with information about the issues and organizations you are interested in supporting. Our experience working for nonprofits large and small provides us with a perspective that can be extremely valuable in your decision making. We will help you develop a philanthropic mission statement and guidelines for your philanthropic decisions. Whether you are passionate about education, healthcare or environmental conservation, our Philanthropic Advisors can help you vet nonprofits and make thoughtful choices about your giving to ensure the greatest impact.

3. We know the community. Our Philanthropic Advisors are connected to the local nonprofit sector. Through one-on-one meetings, donor events, and site visits to nonprofits, we can help you connect with local organizations that are doing innovative work, as well as like-minded donors and community leaders that align with your values. In addition to forging useful social connections, you may also discover opportunities to join more structured networks, such as funder collaboratives that team up to address specific community needs.

4. We are highly skilled goal-setters. Many philanthropists say that writing checks is easy. Does that sound like you? What is harder, they say, is crafting a giving plan that reflects their dreams for achieving positive change in the community. Our Philanthropic Advisors are experienced at helping people articulate their personal values and how those values influence their philanthropic goals. We can help you create a values statement for your giving, set a budget, and choose strategies that are both impactful and personally satisfying.

5. We help families give together. “Giving back” often means more than one donation, one day spent volunteering, or one decision to open a charitable fund. For many people, it’s a journey with many phases that they travel with relatives and loved ones. Empreinte Consulting is highly skilled at facilitating the conversations, which at times may be difficult, that help families come together to reflect, learn, and make decisions as collective philanthropists. This process also helps develop a philanthropic succession plan that ensures your legacy lives on.

6. We help maintain philanthropy as a priority. Between jobs, kids, volunteer obligations, and more, many people find that organizing their charitable contributions is an arduous task. We give you back your time and sanity. Our Philanthropic Advisors can help, making it easy for you to focus on the things you care about most while knowing your philanthropic plan is executed.

Philanthropy is one of the most important investment tools that we have at our disposal. Not only does it transform your life, but it forever changes the lives of others. Don’t feel as though you need to go on this journey alone. Empreinte Consulting is positioned well to guide you through the philanthropic process and provide our expertise to ensure you are fulfilling all your goals. Your investment in us will provide one of the most rewarding returns of your life. We would be honored to speak with you further to discuss ways in which we can partner to enhance our communities.



Empreinte Consulting, LLC​