By Andy Carroll, Exponent Philanthropy
At some point in our life and work, we ask ourselves,
Is there more to know?
Is there more to experience?
Is there more impact or change we can make?
It’s not that we’re ungrateful for what we have. It’s that we get restless, frustrated, fatigued. We heard somewhere that philanthropy was about taking risks, empowering people who have great ideas, catalyzing change.
Instead, our days and weeks are filled with an endless cycle of elaborate funding processes. Our well-intended efforts to steward resources responsibly and minimize risk accumulate over the years. Applications, reports, and evaluations bury us. Preparing for foundation board meetings devours weeks. Gradually the paper and process takes over, crowding out people, relationships, and time to learn, reflect, and evolve. We lose track of philanthropy’s purpose and soul.
Fatigue also comes from not seeing or feeling impact. Problems and issues persist over years and decades, and sometimes only get worse, in spite of continual funding and attention.
We wonder, Is there more to philanthropy than this? Is there another way?
The next time you ask, hold onto that question and don’t let it slip away. Take it seriously, embrace it, hold it close. Then—act on it.
Here is one path.