Recently I wrote about “low hanging fruit” in philanthropy and why as much as I like theoretical debates, philanthropy needs to focus on the basics. Renata Rafferty asked me if I meant “basic” basics or “philanthrocapitalism “basics”. I meant real nuts and bolts basics.
At my firm Ensemble Capital I’ve helped clients partner with larger foundations, work with banks to provide loans to grantees, design strategic plans and recruit well known board members. But the things we’ve done that have the most impact are often “basic” basic. I’ve help a small business owner decide to gift his company to a donor advised fund prior to selling it rather than sell it and then think about philanthropy. That kind of simple thinking can increase the donors ability to give by 50% or more.
Basic “basic” is REALLY basic — for example:
DON’T respond to telephone, e-mail and snail mail solicitations from organizations about which you know nothing
DON’T assume you have no right to input, or feedback, on the use of your donation
DON’T assume that 990s or charity rating websites have all (or any) of the answers to the questions you should be asking before giving
DON’T just give it away 😉
DO think about what specific change you wish to make in your community or your world
DO explore various organizations that are working to make that change happen
DO actively evaluate whether this is an organization to which you will trust both your money and your hope for change
DO leverage that gift in any of the multiple ways available to you to do so
By “Philanthrocapitalism” basic, I’m referring to those ideas, principles, and actions that require an understanding and concern for the global ramifications of social cause and effect, from which stem systems or methodologies of giving/leading that seek to harness the forces, strengths, experiences, and leaders of the free marketplace and aye, the free world.
By basic-basic, I’m talking about getting most people to simply be more thought-full (and not just feeling-full) about their charitable giving … the vast majority of donors just are not there yet).
The more advanced-basic practically requires a degree (or at least an interest) in economics, business, sociology, psychology, and or “philanthropy.”