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"Great donors have common traits.
They are agile, innovative,
imaginative, humble, risk-taking and
prepared to learn."

                - Sarah Teacher

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From impulse to strategy

For young philanthropists, Sarah Teacher is a key resource to help them make their giving count.

As the Institute for Philanthropy's director of "Next Generation Philanthropy", she leads its training programme in strategic philanthropy for young people aged 18-30. This offers a confidential environment for participants to explore the third sector, acquiring both knowledge and skills through case studies, site visits and discussions with leading civil society thinkers.

The institute asks donors to be proactive and outcome-led, and Teacher says they are becoming more strategic, "engaging in planning processes; using evaluative frameworks; being nuanced and long term in their thinking; adopting problem-solving approaches; and leveraging increased funds into the issue areas they care about. They are very inspiring people to work with."

While philanthropy varies from culture to culture, allowing no cut-and-paste solutions to complex social problems, Teacher suggests great donors have common traits: "They are agile, innovative, imaginative, humble, risk-taking and prepared to learn."

What guides her own giving: head or heart? "A bit of both; heart drives the instinct to give and makes you dig deep, while the head helps problem-solving and turns that impulse into something effective."

Teacher graduated with a first in history from Oxford in 2005 and joined the institute two years later. In 2009, she became a trustee of the educational charity Avonbrook Projects Abroad.