Philanthropy, as discussed before, is an admirable pursuit in making a difference for the benefit of others. Those with little to experience in this field, however, could find it more challenging than previously thought, and often find themselves making detrimental mistakes, some even subconsciously. The following are a few more common mistakes made by first-time philanthropists.
Managing, Not Leading
The notion that a great boss leads rather than directs is one that has been strongly believed for decades. That same notion should be applied for philanthropists running their own foundation. To ensure an effective philanthropic campaign, you as a leader should allow all staff members to complete their tasks individually, or as a team with little intervention.
Let your board be the acting body to govern everybody involved. Their job is to make your mission clear, strategize, create policies, and ensure financial stability throughout. However, the board is not always a perfect entity in itself. There may be times in which you will have to take the reins on certain board situations.
Failing to Learn
This principle applies to nearly every facet of business. Not taking advantage of opportunities to grow your knowledge is preventing your foundation from growing altogether. Rather than stopping after you’ve learned all that you have to know, consider what else you want to learn.
Take a step back and look at what your foundation was designed for. Are your efforts to benefit the homeless, underprivileged youth, or the elderly? Those subjects in themselves come with a wealth of categories that you could learn about, thus enhancing your philanthropic work.
Not Including Your Community
The geographic location of your foundation often plays a surprisingly large role in your philanthropic efforts. The surrounding community will, most likely, understand more about local statistics such as crime rates, poverty, public health issues, and more. Their input is invaluable. It would be foolish not to seek insight from the community you are actively trying to help, what they are looking for, and what would benefit them the most.
Philanthropists can obtain this information through community surveys, focus groups, or simply informal conversations. In the same vein of leading individuals rather than governing them, you’ll want to create a comfortable environment that sparks conversation, and one that offers solutions to their problems.