Tuesday 27th September 2016                 Change text size:

Philanthropy narrative shifting towards ‘how much change has been made’



Magnifying By Images_of_Money via Flickr

Glen Galaich and Tracy Mack Parker, respectively CEO and executive vice president of the strategic education and networking body the Philanthropy Workshop, gave advice for donors and impact investors in a live discussion featured on the Forbes website on Monday.

Galaich said that the experiences of its members proved that choosing to invest for impact does not mean sacrificing profit, adding that the workshop encouraged newcomers to “get very aggressive” with their investment portfolio.

“There’s now precedent, there’s data to suggest that the ongoing frame on impact investment – which is that you have to take a loss to make social impact – may not necessarily be true”, he said. 

You can evaluate your entire capital available to you and seek ways, through both for-profit and non-profit investment, to see impact and outcomes. 

“At a time when we’re facing significant challenges, the climate change issue being one, you have to ask yourself when you’re going to go big.

“When are you going to spend this out, in ways that are very aggressive? Because in 30 years from now, my foundation may be irrelevant if there’s seas over the building, so to speak.”

Detailing the kind of advice members receive from the workshop, Parker said philanthropists must also know what they want to achieve “over what amount of time and with what amount of resources” if they are to succeed.

“One of the key premises is to know the change you are seeking to make, so you know what you are measuring”, she said.

“Often the case when some people measure impact is they’re very much trying to hold a non-profit to task – for very good reasons. 

She added, “Where we try to shift the conversation is to about how much change has been made, so you’re looking at the outcomes.” 

The Philanthropy Workshop was recently born of a merger between two leading organisations – the Institute for Philanthropy, based in London and New York, and the Philanthropy Workshop West, based in San Francisco. 

The new body is now the largest curriculum-based donor education programme “by every measure”, Galaich added. 

It is made up of a network of 300 philanthropists; each graduates of the one-year programme and trained to make the best possible difference with their wealth.

Photo: Images_of_Money via Flickr

Further reading:

TED talks: why philanthropy is the most satisfying thing we’ve done – Bill and Melinda Gates

Sainsbury family’s £165m charity donations top Sunday Times Giving List

Natural History Museum receives ‘largest ever’ philanthropic donation

Australian philanthropist leaves $3bn estate to charity

Alibaba founder Jack Ma launches charitable trust to inspire Chinese philanthropy


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