Counsel and Support for Philanthropists

We provide deep expertise to optimally structure, establish and manage the philanthropic activities of our clients along their entire philanthropic journey.


At the core of our relationships with our clients is a shared commitment to maximize philanthropic investment to achieve significant impact. S. Sutton & Associates Inc. works with clients to understand their charitable inclinations, articulate their motivations, further define their objectives, and develop and implement sound strategies that create measurable value and achieve results.

Strategic Planning and Best Practices Approach to Philanthropy

What is your dream for the future? What good would you like to see in the world? You already have an accountant, a wealth or investment advisor. He or she properly focuses on what they know best: money. There is enormous variability in what they may know about the philanthropic process or a given organization’s ability to work effectively and efficiently with your generous philanthropy. This is where we come in. S. Sutton & Associates Inc. has the know-how to turn your vision into reality.

Top philanthropists are strategic and disciplined in creating and executing a thoughtful plan. They know their top priorities – the causes they want to invest in – and they know how they will measure their success through metrics of impact, return on investment and progress.

We work with our clients to develop a plan that is consistent with their personal values and financial goals, but which also incorporates flexibility to allow for evolution as times and circumstances change.

We help you provide support that is the most meaningful to you and the most useful to the sectors and causes you care about. Is your focus art, design and culture, community based membership and advocacy organizations, education or healthcare and research? Are you interested in student support and scholarships, general operating support, specific programs, capital, equipment or infrastructure? Do you want to support one organization, several in a community, or several organizations working on the same issues from different angles, in different geographic regions or globally?

To shape such a philanthropic plan, we start by helping you answer several critical questions:

  • What or who do you want your giving to benefit?
  • What are you trying to achieve with your donations of money, time or assets?
  • Why are you giving? Do you have a specific legacy in mind? What is your motivation?
  • How much and what are you capable of giving?
  • How much involvement do you want with various organizations?
  • If you have a family or children, how may they benefit by being involved in the process?

Strategic Philanthropic Portfolio Construction and Tactical Counsel

S. Sutton & Associates Inc. represents you and your values, identifies opportunities which resonate with you, provides the information you need to make sound giving decisions and does the follow-up to make sure your gifts have their intended result. To construct the most strategic portfolio we:

  • Work through the family dynamics to energize the family’s giving or take it in a new direction
  • Develop a process to engage your children or grandchildren in giving
  • Identify or develop opportunities to make a difference which are in alignment with your philanthropic objectives
  • Explore areas of giving where you have less expertise
  • Reduce the volume of requests you need to consider… and most often decline
  • Get to know a nonprofit’s work well before introducing you to them as a potential major donor
  • Identify ways to stretch your dollars further through highly strategic gifts or collaborations
  • Conduct research, perform due diligence and fully vet opportunities and organizations to make sure your gift will be used well, your name will be protected, and construct gift agreements accordingly
  • Work through the delicate process of discontinuing funding of organizations you have supported over time
  • Analyze how loans, philanthropic equity, social impact bonds, or impact investments as well as grants, might contribute to your giving strategy

Impact Measurement, Performance Assessments and Accountability

You know how to build wealth; you’ve done it. But many donors who want to engage in philanthropy often lack the time, interest or know-how to evaluate a charity’s performance, often confusing accountability with achievement.

There is no real way for you to gauge the effectiveness of the particular causes or the institutions you may want to support. Guidestar, Charity Navigator or the Better Business Bureau are important resources but they really can’t tell you how well your grant will be utilized – or the charity’s innate ability to fulfill your trust. Or not. How will you know if your contributions are making a difference? By what criteria will you evaluate your existing donations and future charitable opportunities?

S. Sutton & Associates Inc. provides a different lens to vet performance of organizations. We help you determine criteria for impact and performance, assure your gift is used as intended, your name is protected, and there is complete adherence to terms articulated in gift agreements.

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