Deciding Where to Give

Beginning your philanthropic journey is an exciting time for donors. With so many areas of need, however, it can be challenging to choose where to give your first grant. At the Community Foundation of Utah, we have the unique opportunity to work with fundholders and help identify what areas of interest resonate most with their giving.

Our giving facilitations present donors with engaging thought exercises to explore their giving values. If you are unsure where you would like to start giving, here are five suggestions to help you start your giving journey.

Location Think geographically

Is there a city, state, or region close to your heart? You may consider using charitable dollars to sustain and invest in a specific geographic location, which can help you develop closer relationships and better understand needs within a community. Donors can give to organizations that focus on supporting the arts, preserving architecture, or developing community resources in their hometown, as examples. 

You may enjoy spending time in national parks, forests, or by water in specific regions. Many nonprofits specialize in geographically focused conservation to protect wildlife and environments for future generations. You can help preserve a place you care about by finding a nonprofit with a shared mission for conservation.

Giving to a geographic area can be a meaningful way for donors to connect with communities that have helped shape and influence their lives.

Aid Respond to an emerging crisis 

Natural disasters, emerging crises, and unexpected epidemics can wreak havoc on an affected community. Giving to organizations that specialize in providing emergency response services to the affected area or helping build shelter, deliver supplies, or relocate families can be meaningful in critical situations.

International peace organizations or local resettlement agencies often need additional support to spring into action. Refugee resettlement is a complex process involving social, educational, and financial assistance; your donation can expedite those services to refugees in need.

Donors seeking to create an immediate impact with responsive giving can make an enormous difference in the lives of those experiencing an emergency.

Legacy Continue a legacy

Families often have traditions they pass down through generations. When deciding where you wish to donate, it may be helpful to engage with your family history to see if you would like to explore continuing or creating a legacy. Gifts made in memory of your loved ones can honor their passions and generosity for years to come.

Donors with spouses or children may decide as a family to give to a cause to which they feel collectively connected. You can create a family legacy in your lifetime by giving to organizations your family is passionate about or where you have experienced a meaningful impact.

Legacy giving creates a special opportunity for donors to honor their family relationships through philanthropy.

Occupation Connect your work with your purpose

Philanthropy provides an opportunity for donors who are passionate about their profession to continue their personal mission through giving. You might work with a nonprofit to address a need in your field of work, such as providing early interventions for developing crises or increasing educational opportunities for underserved communities. 

Many donors enjoy supporting nonprofits that align with their professional goals and interests to create a holistic and professionally informed giving experience.

Heart Reflect on experiences that are personally meaningful

We all have experiences that shape our lives. You may have been given an opportunity to learn an art form, received critical healthcare in an emergency, or found a cause you are passionate about. 

Life experiences can help make your philanthropy more fulfilling by thinking about your story and more specifically, those experiences which have been important to you. For some donors, it can be helpful to reflect on what opportunities you may wish you had been given and would like to give to others. 

Connecting your philanthropy with your life story can lead to a greater sense of identity and personal achievement for many donors.

Interest Areas

Want help getting started with giving? Email  to connect with our Philanthropic Services team.