Giving Compass' Take:

• Philanthropy advisor Kris Putnam-Walkerly offers insight on three common philanthropic blind spots that decrease the clarity, speed, impact, and joy of charitable giving. 

• What are your personal philanthropic blinds spots, and how do they impact your philanthropy?

• Read more on how you can evaluate your philanthropy. 

In philanthropy circles, people very rarely, if ever, call each other out for being delusional. And that’s exactly why I wrote my book Delusional Altruism: Why Philanthropists Fail To Achieve Change and What They Can Do To Transform Giving.

Briefly, the book is about human behaviors we’re not even aware of that get in the way of transformational change. It’s also about how to replace those behaviors with ways of working that are much more effective.

Moreover, in a time of deep social anxiety—as we grapple with a lethal pandemic, historic joblessness, police brutality, and systemic racism thrown into even starker view due to COVID-19—we need to be honest with ourselves about precisely where and how we are falling short. We don’t have the time or luxury to live in our own alternate reality. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, this is “the fierce urgency of now.”

While the vast majority of philanthropists are eager to do the right thing, here’s the dilemma: How can you change actions or behaviors that you’re not even aware of?

In advising philanthropists for more than two decades, I’ve come to learn the blind spots that too often decrease the clarity, speed, impact, and joy of their giving. Sound familiar? Here are three of the most common blind spots and, especially amid these extraordinary times, what to do instead.

A scarcity mentality
If you do everything on the cheap—without investing in the infrastructure or long-term success of your philanthropy—you’re creating limitations, not opportunities.

In philanthropy, as in life, just trying to figure out which way to go can be a significant challenge. As a result, many philanthropies are extraordinarily busy with little to show for it.

Power grabs
You may hold the money and resources that others need—and be the grantor to the grantee. But when you wield too much power, you fundamentally limit honesty, trusting relationships, and so much more.

Read the full article about philanthropic blind spots by Kris Putnam-Walkerly at Putnam Consulting Group.