Giving Compass' Take:

• Kathleen Kelly Janus laments failed attempts to do good and argues that young people must be taught about impactful contributions to avoid further philanthropic waste. 

• How can funders spread better philanthropy practices? 

• Read the core tenents of impact-driven philanthropy

If there is one trend that sums up the next generation, it is that they want to make a difference in the world. For example, 66 percent of teens say they want their jobs to impact the world, and 26 percent of 16- to 19-year-olds are already volunteering. But despite caring more than ever before, so many young people remain ill-equipped to effectively do anything about the problems they see.

Last fall, when the Northern California fires ravaged my hometown of Napa, California, thousands of well-meaning Bay Area residents wanted to help, but their efforts were often misguided. Puertas Abiertas, a nonprofit that does outreach to the Latino community, received a mountain of dog food from donors despite the fact that their community didn’t have dogs. And in Newtown, Connecticut, when a gunman killed 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, the community had to rent a warehouse to fit 67,000 stuffed animals donated from across the country, most of which residents had to send away.

Instead of scattering light-touch efforts throughout the community, funders and nonprofits should support teachers and parents to build long-term relationships with their organizations. Everyone should learn the nuts and bolts of successful fundraising. And most importantly, no matter how smart, educated, and well-resourced you are, when it comes to problem-solving, nothing can replace the power of lived experience. Social sector leaders must help teach young people how to responsibly engage with communities in need as co-designers of solutions.

Read the full article about impact philanthropy by Kathleen Kelly Janus at Stanford Social Innovation Review.