September 05, 2014
Mary Martuscelli and Heidi Steiger discuss focusing on philanthropy goals during retirement.
Heidi Steiger; Illustration by Joel Kimmel
What advice do you give retirees when they begin to explore philanthropy?
Martuscelli: I usually encourage people to make a list. What are my interests? What do I really like to do? This may help ensure you’re getting involved with an organization where you truly believe in the mission. Many people say, “I’ve just got to get involved.” But if it’s not something you’re passionate about, you’ll lose interest.
Steiger: For a lot of my clients, particularly corporate executives, so much of their identity is wrapped up in their work. The main advice I give is never to jump quickly into the next activity. You need to spend time soul-searching to think about the parts of the workday you really enjoy.
What are the best ways to research charities and other nonprofit groups?
Martuscelli: Look at Charity Navigator or IRS 990 forms online to check the finances of the organization. They usually list the board of directors, and you might know someone whom you can call. Take a tour of the organization, and talk to other people who volunteer there on a regular basis.