Giving Compass' Take:

• Kris Putnam-Walkerly discusses the various mistakes that philanthropists often make during crises and offers suggestions on what to do instead. 

• Where are the most significant challenges for philanthropists during an emergency? What are donors doing to understand the most immediate needs of nonprofit organizations?

• Read more guidance for donors during a crisis. 

Crises bring massive social, health and economic uncertainties, challenges and hardships. They also unleash unprecedented philanthropic leadership and opportunities for transformational social change. But being an effective philanthropist requires letting go of what I call “delusional altruism”—modes of thinking and behavior that get in the way of achieving goals. During times of uncertainty, these pitfalls can turn into defaults.

Here are six common mistakes wealthy donors often make during a crisis, be it a pandemic or another kind of disaster, and what to do instead.

Mistake #1: Stepping Back During a crisis, we may want to hunker down and hold back. As a donor, you have resources; any action—especially during a crisis—risks exposure to requests and scrutiny.  Instead, Engage. 

Mistake #2: Deciding to Wait and See If you wait to see how things shake out, you miss the opportunity to provide the most help.Instead, Clarify, Prioritize and Implement. 

Mistake #3: Stop Building Your Philanthropic Muscle To have the greatest impact, you need to be the greatest philanthropist you can be. This means building your philanthropic capacity and know-how. Instead, Invest in Making Yourself Stronger. 

Mistake #4: Wanting to Maintain Control During this crisis some donors may insist on lengthy grant applications, dictate how nonprofits use a grant or refuse to allow funds to be spent on overhead. Instead, Be Responsive and Flexible

Mistake #5: Diverting All of Your Resources to the Crisis Sometimes funders get so caught up in responding to the needs of the moment, they overreact by dropping all other priorities.  Instead, Be Consistent

Mistake #6: Only Respond to Immediate Needs Short-sightedness peaks during times of stress and uncertainty, to the detriment of planning a long, sustained and effective response. Instead, Take the Long View

Read the full article about six mistakes philanthropists make by Kris Putnam-Walkerly at Worth.