More Buzzwords

“The Foundation will be creating an action plan that will benchmark the best practices of high impact, paradigm-shifting stakeholders. The process will deliver a comprehensive brand identity that will help empower our people to scale our best-in-class strategies.”

That imaginary statement is put together from the comical “Jargon Finder” at The Communications Network, which is working to “strengthen the voice of philanthropy”.

Philanthropy is plagued with buzzwords (including this very blog, I must admit!). Maybe the people at FoundationWorks can help. They say:

“FoundationWorks is an independent organization devoted to helping foundations and others in the philanthropic sector better utilize strategic communications as a principal agent for enhancing philanthropic effectiveness. FoundationWorks co-founders believe there is both the need and opportunity to "condition the climate" for greater public discourse around philanthropy in America. Part of our challenge is to identify the appropriate information "gatekeepers" within the philanthropic community who can effectively reach and influence policymakers and opinion leaders about the benefits and impact of the sector-particularly that portion of the sector represented by foundations.”

I can spot a couple buzzwords in that very introduction. However, I think that “encouraging greater discourse about philanthropy in America” is critical.

My firm hosted a Philanthropy Forum event in San Francisco today. In addition to myself, there was a speaker who worked in foundation administration, at a donor advised funds, and at a local nonprofit. In the audience were CPAs, nonprofit development employees, financial advisors, individual donors, and journalists. What I found wonderful about the event was how it brought together of a group of people who often do not communicate with each other and really started a conversation about philanthropy. Some of the issues discussed and ideas brought up by participates were really innovative. I think they benefited greatly from the cross pollination of ideas brought to the table by the various stakeholders (ok, I lifted that last word right out of the “Jargon Finder”!).

I believe that a large driver of the Second Great Wave is a shift that is currently underway in the philanthropic dialog. The conversation is moving away from talking about something people do out of a sense of obligation after they have retired and towards a discussion of something people are passionately involved in over the course of their entire life because it speaks to the core of who they are.