Giving Compass’ Take:
• Consultant Kris Putnam-Walkerly discusses the importance of getting outside echo chambers for funders, and ways that can be accomplished through a few simple steps.
• Are we too prone to group think in the nonprofit sector? Intentional learning is vital, as is bringing in more diversity and voices from the outside to program planning.
As a funder, it’s regrettably easy to stay in a “bubble” of isolation — either constrained mentally by one’s own assumptions and knowledge, or even physically by never leaving the office and venturing out into the community. If you’re in a bubble, you probably aren’t intentionally undermining your own effectiveness, but you are deluding yourself that you’re achieving the impact you’d like to see. For effective grantmaking to really happen, you need to break out of the bubble, and make an effort to deeply understand and connect with the communities you serve.
The bubble-breaking process starts with a commitment to truly becoming a learning organization. Many funders claim they want to learn, but few take the time to define what that means and commit to an intentional learning agenda. Staff and board members may have made individual strides, but have no means or impetus to formally share their learning with others. To become intentional learners, you must:
- Commit to learning as a part of your goals and day-to-day duties.
- Document and share what you learn.
- Discuss what you learn with your entire team.
- Use what you’ve learned to make decisions.
- Apply what you’ve learned to your ongoing work.
Read the full article about breaking out of your bubble as a grantmaker by Kris Putnam-Walkerly at Putnam Consulting Group.
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