Is there anything like good philanthropy? Philanthropy in today’s world can be said to be all forms of giving. It is generosity in the form of treasure, talent, and time offered as a gift for the betterment of others. Given the definition, could there be anything like good philanthropy? Can philanthropy be bad? After all, one is sacrificing part of what they have to benefit others!
The reality of matters, however, is that there is something like good, and bad philanthropy. People can go wrong even when giving to charity, and though the masses will applaud you for giving whether done well or not, good philanthropy goes a long way. Just like in business, philanthropy has models for effective practice. Rusty Tweed share five key habits needed for good philanthropy:
- Remain an expert on the cause you are focusing on.
Just like a commercial investor does his market research before investing, a good philanthropist remains knowledgable about the cause he is giving to. When giving to a distressed community, for example, it is not enough to pop up during events, listen to a beneficiary talk at a gala, or liaise with the management to schedule charity events. A real philanthropist will visit the community, understand what they are going through, interact with them, and endeavor to help them by coming up with real solutions.
Real expertise is about understanding the diverse environment and external pressures that communities are going through and relating these to literally concepts, publications, and government efforts set in place for the betterment of the community. It is about keeping tabs and being at the forefront of all the information appertaining to your cause. Great philanthropists understand and are extremely knowledgable in the subject they focus on.
- Philanthropy should be used as a tool for research, discovery, and dissemination.
Sure, being given throughout is nice, but what would be even better, is empowerment. The government carries out its philanthropy through the ever-lasting provision of services to the needy. This is bad philanthropy. Good philanthropy is about looking for solutions, testing, and coming up with innovative solutions to problems affecting a community.
The simplicity of fundraisers minimizes the reality of problems on the ground. It is barely the tip of the iceberg and merely attending a fancy event to discuss and donate is not enough. The real heroes are those that try to find solutions. They make the biggest difference in the world. While many will be saying how much they impacted or donated, these champs will contribute knowledge to the field, and contribute to the troupe that is seeking long-lasting solutions to issues crippling a community.
- Power Sharing
Some philanthropists simply give to feel powerful. They place themselves at the forefront of decisions simply because they are contributing to society. They also set agendas and assume situations without knowing what situations are in reality. A good philanthropist shares power with other participants who are more experienced and more knowledgeable so that they can develop models that have higher chances of succeeding.
- Take advantage of philanthropy’s strengths.
Unlike government budgets, philanthropic capital is unaccountable, long term, and independent. When a philanthropist is scared to take risks and pays for temporary subscale services against permanent problems, they are simply acting without a strategy. Good philanthropists take advantage of the play and go all out. They take risks, invest, try unpopular methods, and think long term, which allows them to make a real difference.
- Understand the economics of grant-making.
Many philanthropists overlook this last habit. They normally look for charities that represent the cause they would like to donate to, evaluate whether they are legit, and simply donate to them. While this may seem kind, it makes little difference. A good philanthropist understands the power of breaking down his donations to different organizations based on the stages of development they are in. Restricted funding may be more meaningful than unrestricted funding in some instances. This means diving money strategically and understanding the organizations you are giving to.
Sometimes one may donate to a charity that is doing great work but may not need the money, yet another organization is struggling, yet doing substantial work. The organization’s future potential against its current state should be evaluated and a range of tools used to evaluate how much difference the contribution will benefit the world. These include on-off giving to a company that wants to propel an idea forward or small multi-year commitments that will fuel a company to grow and change the world!