• The Aspire to Give® Blog

To transcend ourselves and to give to family, friends, those in need, or our community with intent, there is an underlying conversation that we must have either with ourselves or with the help of others. It’s a conversation that will ensure our giving is effective, brings meaning to our lives, and can be as impactful as possible.

This conversation I'm referring to is the philanthropic conversation—a conversation worth having. The purpose of this blog is to provide you with the background of how this conversation came to be, including its origin and framework. We each need to have this conversation and once we have the conversation, we will find that it awakens our inner spirit, energizes our soul, and puts us on a path that is meaningful, impactful, and betters our world.

Through my own reflection and research, I came to understand that there are three main building blocks that serve as the foundation for the philanthropic conversation. These building blocks are:

  1. The need for process to provide structure, ease of use, and simplicity.
  2. The Certified Financial Planner® financial planning process and the role of a coaches/advisors.
  3. Appreciative Inquiry as a way of being, seeing, and doing.

Let's look at how all three of these building blocks fit together to create the script for an effective philanthropic conversation.

The need for process: In one of my early career stints, I was a process control engineer for DuPont. During that period, I learned the importance of establishing a consistent and methodical process for the production of materials. From this experience, I also realized that the need for process applies to accomplishing most anything in life from achieving personal goals, to building strong and trusting relationships, to the daily routine of normal living activities, and yes…for creating and applying the philanthropic conversation – a conversation worth having! For if we have a consistent, ever-improving process, and we routinely apply the process to a philanthropic conversation, we find it becomes a valuable tool by which we can help and serve others so that they, too, may have meaningful and impactful conversations that lead them to having a greater impact in their giving world.

Financial Planning Process: During another stint of my diverse career, I learned about the financial planning process through study and experience as a Certified Financial Planner® practitioner. I found in my financial planning career that there was also a process—a six step process that was logical, easy to use, and more importantly, was applied to help clients achieve and realize a fulfilling lifestyle as they prepared for and transitioned into retirement. With this financial planning process, there are six steps that are clearly laid out by the Certified Financial Planner® Board of Standards meant to assure best practices, advance professionalism, and enhance value.

Appreciative Inquiry:In my research for developing a course for the philanthropic conversation, I discovered the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) process. Aha! As an established, well-proven commercial process, Appreciative Inquiry is a strengths-based approach that is easily adaptable to the philanthropic conversation. As background, AI was pioneered in the 1980s by David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva, two professors at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. The process is a way of both seeing and being that is positive, strengths-based, and facilitates constructive change in individuals, organizations, and communities. Upon reading more about AI,, it became apparent that by integrating the principles of AI and adapting the intent embedded in the steps of the financial planning process, we could create the framework for the philanthropic conversation worth having in the form of the Personal Philanthropic Giving Process.

Because of the importance of the philanthropic conversation with donors, the personal philanthropic giving process was developed to help professional advisors transcend their traditional professional advisor roles and provide donors - those with a giving heart - with a process to follow that will bring meaning and impact to their own personal giving.

The Personal Philanthropic Giving Process is a modified AI process that embeds positive, personal philanthropic goals within the overall context of financial planning. Fundamentally, it focuses on the strengths of the donor, helps them intentionally align their purpose with their passion, and integrates the 7 essential questions for smart giving to create a complete “tool” by which we can each improve our own corner of the world based on what is impactful and meaningful to us.

Personal Philanthropic Giving Process

As you can see from the diagram above, the key component in “Define” for the Personal Philanthropic Giving Process is to recognize our strengths and to align our purpose with our passion to become better versions of ourselves by serving something greater than self. From this affirming, aspirational, and transcendental process, we recognize our current, positive state of being and then envision and realize our own becoming as a way to bettering our world by following the sequence of steps of discovering, dreaming, designing, delivering, and achieving our destiny (legacy).

Whether you are a Giving Heart wanting to give to something greater than self, a professional advisor to others, or a nonprofit professional, we at Aspire to Give™ look forward to sharing with you our tools for engaging in a philanthropic conversation worth having.

So, stay tuned...and...

let’s do some good!


Coming Next:3 Key Reflections from the 2019 Advisors in Philanthropy Conference


©2019 Aspire to Give®. All Rights Reserved. Greg Doepke is a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® and a Certified Financial Planner®. Greg serves on the Board of Directors for the International Association for Advisors in Philanthropy and as the Philanthropist in Residence at Auburn University’s Cary Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies. As the founder of Aspire to Give® Greg educates and equips individuals, families, business owners, and foundations with both traditional and leading-edge philanthropic tools and techniques for smart, meaningful, and impactful giving. You can contact Greg at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Start Your Learning Journey Today

If you would like to explore how to accelerate philanthropic impact through education, collaboration, and advocacy, schedule a phone call with Greg here.

Disclosure: Greg Doepke is the founder and principal of Aspire to Give®, a social enterprise that donates 100% of profits to charity.
The thoughts and opinions expressed in this blog are not representative of the views of ACG Advisory Services, Inc. or the Actuarial Consulting Group, Inc. of Midlothian, Virginia. Each client and prospective client agrees, as a condition of precedent to his/her/its access to Aspire to Give®’s website to release and hold harmless ACG Advisory Services, Inc. and Actuarial Consulting Group, Inc., their officers, directors, owners, employees, and agents from any and all adverse consequences resulting from any of his/her/its actions and/or omissions which are independent of his/her/its receipt of personalized advice from Aspire to Give® or Gregory W. Doepke.