As a strategic philanthropy advising practice working with donors to increase the impact of their philanthropy, we talk a lot about the word “strategy”. But what does strategy really mean? Beyond that, what does putting strategy into practice look like?

Over the years, we’ve learned key lessons on strategy from the families, companies, foundations, and individual donors we work with. These lessons can be valuable to funders at any point in their philanthropic journey, from just getting started to refining or revamping strategies. As part two of our “30 Lessons” series, we offer five actions you can take to inform your strategic thinking and, in turn, increase your impact.

  • Be both strategic and opportunistic. The path to impact is rarely linear. Map your plan, but be open to lessons learned and changing conditions along the way.
  • Invest in people. Find the best people to support, and then work in close partnership with them. Find ways to go beyond financial support, including offering hands-on involvement.
  • Take informed leaps of faith. Be open to taking risks. Place bets on people who are highly committed and have strong leadership skills and powerful ideas.
  • Customize. One size does not fit all. Solutions must be tailored to local needs, culture, and other unique conditions.

Read the full article about lessons in social impact by Leslie Pine at The Philanthropic Initiative.