Teaming up with your clients: Why social impact personality type matters

Each of us has our own approach to “doing good.” Each of us leans toward one of three Social Impact Personality Types: Investor, Activator, or Connector.

You'll realize it's a lot easier to help your clients with philanthropy if you know which type they are, or at least make an educated guess. That's because the charitable giving styles of each type are different. As you work with your Community Foundation on building philanthropy plans for your clients, be sure to let the Community Foundation team know your assessment of your clients' Social Impact Personality Types. It will help the Community Foundation work with you to deliver outstanding service to your clients.

Social Impact Personality Types

  • Investors prefer to engage in social impact activities that are independent and do not require scheduling dedicated time or working directly with others in the pursuit of a charitable endeavor.

  • Connectors prefer to engage in social impact activities that are social in nature, involving the opportunity to get together with others.

  • Activators are passionate about participating in the causes they care most about, and they tend to focus on “changing the world” and impacting one or more social issues on a broad scale.

A Few Clues to Determine Type


What an Activator says about giving:

  • “I want to be sure the dollars I am giving are making a real difference. I want to see impact.”

  • “I always devote the majority of my annual giving budget to supporting charities that are working to solve large-scale social issues.”

  • “My giving dollars will make a bigger difference if I am personally involved in a charity’s programs. That’s the only way I can tell if my money is actually helping people in need.”

Four Giving Activities Activators Enjoy

  1. Giving an increasing amount of money each year to a favorite charity based on the organization’s demonstrated results to improve the quality of life for the people or causes it serves.

  2. Giving money to three different charities collaborating to achieve a specific goal, such as increasing the graduation rate within a particular school, discovering new drugs to treat cancer, or rebuilding a community center in a blighted neighborhood.

  3. Giving to disaster-relief efforts after a hurricane, tornado, or earthquake.

  4. Giving money to charities with the condition that the charity report back on the results achieved with the money (e.g., 100 meals were served to homebound seniors).


What a Connector says about giving:

  • “You never know when you might be at a point in your life where you need help from a charity. It’s important for people both to give to, and receive from, each other.”

  • “It makes my day to get a thank you note from a charity promptly after I send a check.”

  • “Some of my best friends are the people who work at the charities I support.”

Four Giving Activities Connectors Enjoy

  1. Hand-delivering checks to charities as an opportunity to say “hello” and “thank you” to the people working so hard to improve the lives of others.

  2. Giving money to a best friend’s favorite charity.

  3. Collaborating with family members during the holidays to make one big gift to a single charity instead of many small gifts to different charities.

  4. Encouraging children to add money to a piggy bank designated for charity and then mailing the money to the charity in an envelope with pictures drawn by the kids, or giving online with a credit card and emailing the pictures.


What an Investor says about giving:

  • “I always check out a charity’s financials before I write a check by going online to GuideStar and looking at the charity’s Form 990.”

  • “Our family considers gifts to charity as part of our overall investment portfolio. We are investing back into the community that has allowed us to be so successful.”

  • “Maximizing the charitable deductions available under the Internal Revenue Code for giving to charity is the big win-win in philanthropy.”

Four Giving Activities Investors Enjoy

  1. Structuring an estate plan to include several bequests to favorite charities.

  2. Giving appreciated stock to a charity instead of cash, to minimize capital gains tax exposure.

  3. Setting up a donor-advised fund to organize annual giving to charities.

  4. Establishing a budget at the beginning of the year to include a percentage of income designated for gifts to charity.


Embolden has created educational materials on the topic of Social Impact Personality Type. Check out the free ebook on our website. With your purchase of the Second Edition Content Capsules, you are welcome to make this resource available to your donors and advisors on your website, too, at no extra charge.