Giving Compass’ Take:
• Kris Putnam-Walkerly encourages philanthropists to ask four questions to improve their giving.
• Are you asking questions to enlighten your giving? How can you work during this time of crisis to find joy in your giving? Why might increasing your giving help enlighten and enliven your work?
• Learn more about the uncapped benefits to increasing your giving today.
Questions are surprisingly powerful. The right questions spark learning, fuel innovation, create clarity, build trust, mitigate risk and save money. That sounds pretty good, right? I believe that achieving transformational impact as a philanthropist starts with asking the right questions.
The first question is “Why?”
First, ask why to understand your purpose. Philanthropists need to understand why they do what they do, not just what they do or how.
The second question you should ask is, “What do I already know?”
I have great news for you! You already know 80% of the answer to any question you have about your philanthropy.
Now for the bad news: You probably aren’t taking the time to think about what you already know. This is a problem, because you are probably wasting time and money by having other people answer your questions.
This leads me to the third question philanthropists should ask: “What don’t I know?”
Let’s go back to the example of the foundation association. After spending days (or even weeks) reviewing and reflecting on that 80% the staff and board already know about member needs and trends, they should then ask, “What don’t we know?”
Then they can collect the missing 20% of information and insight in the easiest, quickest way. It will take them less time and money to get answers to fewer, more specific questions. And especially now, as we recognize how quickly the world can change around us, increasing the speed at which we gather information and use it to inform decision-making is critical.
The final question I want you to think about is, “Does this bring me joy?”
The work you personally do as a philanthropist should also bring you joy, whether it’s speaking, planning, meeting with grantees, leading your community’s crisis response or reviewing proposals.
Read the full article about four questions to enlighten your giving by Kris Putnam-Walkerly at Forbes.
Philanthropy is a complex topic, and others found these selections from the Impact Giving archive from Giving Compass to be good resources.
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