At The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI), we experience and witness the power of the beginner’s mind on a regular basis. Some donors come to us with ambitious goals but are overwhelmed by the complexity of issues they’d like to address, and by the challenge of defining a strategy that will create deep-rooted change in the world leading to impact philanthropy.

We also strive to approach every situation with a beginner’s mind — an attitude of openness and lack of preconceptions about solutions to social problems — and we encourage our clients to do the same. Through TPI Idea Labs and other approaches, we help our clients think big, ask the right questions, and consider ideas that may contradict conventional wisdom, and thus get at their own right answers as they work to create unique and powerful legacies.

As you consider launching or ramping up your own philanthropic endeavors in the future, consider a few of these approaches and envision where they might take you:

  1. Find out what the future is asking you.
  2. Take one step at a time.
  3. Use your “don’t know” mind. Don’t pre-judge.
  4. Look at experience from fresh perspectives.
  5. Think long-term, knowing there will be adjustments along the way.

In closing, I’d like to offer a comment from Stanford scholar and prognosticator, Lucy Bernholz, whose Blueprint 2018 is fresh in the minds of many as we move further into the new year. Bernholz makes the case that the three powers shaping our communities are our governments, our markets, and our civil society and that the third has been squeezed into a minor role over the past few decades. This third sphere, driven largely by philanthropy, is arguably more critical than ever, and in need of strengthening and expansion as we meet the future.

Read the full article about approaching philanthropy with a beginner’s mind by Leslie Pine at The Philanthropic Initiative.