Smart Donors
Make a Difference

The ideal resource for Trusted Advisors
to offer clients seeking guidance on making a difference.
  • As a self-guided, three-hour online course
  • As the basis for a half-day workshop (live or virtual) run by Sylvia Brown
  • As a tool for advisors to facilitate their own client workshop or family retreat

Course Contents

  1. Why does generosity feel good?
  2. The mistakes we make
  3. What kind of donor are you?
  4. The benefits of a giving strategy


Workbook 1A: The 80/20 rule
Workbook 1B: What sort of donor are you

Choose your Cause and Issue Area

  1. Choosing a cause
  2. Selecting an issue area
  3. Validating your choice

Workbook 2A:
Your Venn diagram
Workbook 2B: Validating your choice

What Pathways to Change Should You Support?

  1. Framing an issue
  2. Understanding an issue within its ecosystem
  3. Drawing a landscape map

Workbook 3A: Understanding your chose issue(s)
Workbook 3B: Landscape map of your chosen issue

Case Study 1 and Interactive Exercise: “Youth Unemployment in Kenya”
Case Study 2: Wicked Problems – Solving homelessness in Orange County, CA

  1. Good Vs. great solutions
  2. Community-based solutions
  3. Policy based solutions
  4. Market-based solutions
  5. Capacity building

Workbook 4:
The Change you want to support
Case Study: Advocacy on a Shoestring – The “Bedrooms of London” campaign

The American Charitable Sector

  1. Public charities
  2. Donors
  3. Smart Donors

Case Study:
Myth Buster-The Overhead Myth

The Importance of Measurement and Evaluation

  1. Measuring Results
  2. Evaluating Results
  3. Making the most difference

Interactive Exercise 1:
Interactive Exercise 2: Evaluating

Workbook 6: Your theory of change, your shortlist, which one is making the most difference?

Case Study: Myth Buster- Cost per head

Selecting the organization or program to support

  1. Viewing charities through an equity lens
  2. What you should ask of a high performing organization

Workbook 7A:
Are those central to the problems closest to their solutions?

Case Study and Interactive Exercise 1: In the steps of a donor – The case of the confusing names
Case Study and Interactive Exercise 2: Big, Medium or Small? – Supporting heart health

Workbook 7B: Selecting a high performing organization

Workbook: Your Smart Donor Toolbox

page Sample

Sample a Module

Contact Us

To learn more about Sylvia, visit: