Photo of the co-founder Stefan Shaw

Hello, I’m Stefan

Photo of the co-founder Stefan Shaw

Hello, I’m Stefan

(for German click here)

How it all started.

Since 2012, I have been studying the question of how to achieve as much as possible with donations. It all started with a mandate as a management consultant – my last, but I didn’t know that at the time: On behalf of a family, who were the sole founders of a pretty large non-profit organization in Germany, I was asked to look at whether „their“ organization was doing a good job. The conclusion at that time was: Yes, their work per se makes sense, but the whole thing is too expensive. Much too expensive. The proof was provided by a second organization that was operating in the same field and reaching a similar number of children with its (even better evaluated) operations – at 1/10 of the cost. One tenth!

My clients then decided to close their exclusively funded organization and provide the second organization with 10% of the original funding. As a result, they were now reaching the same number of children as before, but had freed up an additional 90% of the original funds to support other charitable projects. This was the beginning of the Benckiser Foundation Future, which I helped to set up over a number of years and eventually led as CEO.

What we found out.

In the years of my work for the foundation, I learned that the differences in effectiveness between organizations can be not only 10 times, but sometimes even considerably more. At a first glance, this appears to be rather frustrating, because one might argue that projects that only achieve a tiny fraction of what others do should not be eligible for funding at all. But looking at it from a different angle it can also be quite motivating, because it makes it clear how much additional potential there is in taking a closer look at what the true impact is of what you fund.

Where that lead to.

Well, it certainly motivated me. And with me, a number of colleagues who then built up the foundation together with me. At some point, Sebastian Schwiecker from our team suggested making our knowledge available to a broader public by launching Effektiv Spenden.

In its first year, Sebastian built the platform virtually single-handedly. As the volume of donations increased, some of us co-founders joined him also operationally to further develop effektiv-spenden together. And to jointly encounter a few surprises: One: how many people we reached right away with our offer to take a closer look – in fact, many more than we thought.  And the second: how large some of the individual donations were – many times larger than we had anticipated.

In the meantime, I had also launched a philanthropy consultancy, Legacies Now, together with partners, which was advising major donors how to donate wisely. However, when we realized that was also getting the word out to major donors, we concluded that there was no need for an additional channel. This led us to transfer the personal giving advisory from Legacies Now to Effektiv Spenden.

My role at Effektiv Spenden is mainly this: to support donors, couples, families – even large, multigenerational families – to develop a donation strategy that is supported by all involved parties. This generally starts with discovering the intersection where what moves the family intersects with what actually makes a difference. And then, within that intersection, it leads to identifying the organizations that are doing what they set out to do really well. This includes all the topics and all the organizations that we present on the platform. But there are even more.

My support is free of charge, by the way. It is sponsored by donors who are convinced that the greatest leverage of their donations is to support the work of Effektiv Spenden and thus help move a multiple of additional donations to outstanding charitable organizations. And indeed, the math does work out – to the great joy of everyone involved.

How you can contact me.

You can use the contact form below or send me an email an

Photo of the co-founder Stefan Shaw

Your money does not deserve to trickle away without true impact.

Dr. Stefan Shaw

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