What is Giving Compass?
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Everyone who gives away money or makes a social investment wants to feel like they are doing good. After all, that’s the basis of philanthropy. We want to help others, make lasting positive change and leave the world and its inhabitants better off because of our contributions.
But too often, philanthropists delude themselves about their own effectiveness because they don’t see the myriad ways that they are adding needless complexity and complication to their work. They are blind to their own behaviors, policies and practices that can cause more harm than good. And they frequently get in their own way without realizing it.
I call this delusional altruism.
Here’s an example: You want to provide a $5,000 gift of general operating funds to a small, cash-strapped nonprofit so that it can ease some of the pressures it faces in simply keeping the lights on and the doors open. In helping them overcome this hurdle, you can help them concentrate more on providing their valuable service to your community. That’s a great example of altruism: trusting those in the field with your funds and believing that they will apply those funds in ways that will be most helpful. But then you require them to complete a 15-page grant proposal with several long narratives and a detailed budget. You also expect them to host you at a site visit.
That’s when your altruism becomes delusional.
Read the full article about the delusional philanthropist by Kris Putnam-Walkerly at Forbes.