Every philanthropist is all too aware of the intense competition for limited resources; there are only so many donors to go around and philanthropies need large amounts of funding to successfully run and achieve their goals. Regardless of the amount donated, everyone wants to know their money is being spent wisely and achieving the desired results. There are many aspects that go into successfully running a philanthropy, so you need to be informed as a philanthropist.
The following books should stand front and center on every philanthropist’s bookshelf.
Tierney and Fleishman give practical guidance to both donors and organization leaders. It addresses central questions for every philanthropist on executing strategies and gauging success. Case studies, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, provide valuable insight.
Collier, once Harvard’s senior philanthropic advisor, addresses sharing family values through philanthropy. He discusses the role of philanthropy in teaching family values and in passing both values and assets to succeeding generations and how this tradition can benefit the world at large.
Morino’s book is an essential read for nonprofit leaders and donors alike, providing valuable, hard-won insights into measuring success. It covers the importance of clearly defined aspirations, gauging progress, making mistakes, adapting quickly, becoming more effective, and always remembering the goal is improving lives, no matter what specific cause you’re working toward.
Collins’ monograph counsels the social sector, following his book Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t. Many social sector readers of Good to Great had specific questions on applying his advice. Collins concludes the crucial difference isn’t between business and nonprofits, but between great organizations and good ones.
Drucker is well-known as a management guru for both for-profits and the social sector. This compilation includes 26 of Drucker’s core writings on management and effective execution, as essential for social change as for business success.
Each book deserves multiple readings and careful thought because they can benefit you in various ways. Whatever the social issues that most concern you, being able to judge and perhaps even improve the effectiveness of those implementing those changes is primary. Incorporating the principles outlined in these books with your values will improve the effectiveness of your philanthropy.
Unfortunately, sometimes failure is inevitable. You put massive amounts of hard work into a project or new business and do everything you can to help it succeed, but it just won’t be the right time. While failure can be crushing, especially to an entrepreneur who put so much effort into their venture, you can learn a lot from it. Every failure holds valuable lessons that can help you do that much better the next time. While you may not feel like planning for the future after a failure, it’s important to look ahead. Here is some advice for the next steps you need to take to really achieve your goals.
Take time to mourn
First, you should take time to mourn the loss of your business. It’s a difficult occurrence and you’re going to feel down about losing something you put so much time and money into. Give yourself no more than a week to feel bad about it and spend time coping with it. You won’t immediately feel better after this period of time, but you’ll need to start doing something productive again. Instead of pushing forward right away, let yourself feel down for a few days.
Evaluate what went wrong
After you’ve stepped away from the situation and worked through how you feel personally, it’s time to critically examine what went wrong. Think back over the business and the decisions you, or other people, made. What ultimately caused the business to fail? Lack of funds? No new customers? Pinpoint the reason to the best of your ability so you can know where you need to improve in the future.
See what you can salvage
It’s worth seeing what you can salvage from your business. Are there tangible items like equipment and resources you can save? Do you need to sell items to cover any debt? Then, think about the business model and organization of the company. See if anyone you worked with would be interested in working on a new company. If there was something or someone that really worked well, you can use it or them again in your next business venture.
Try something new
Before launching another business, take time to do something different. It might be starting a new job in a different industry or picking up a new hobby. You could take classes or travel somewhere. Doing something different helps stir creativity and lets you think about what goals you have for your future.
Start planning ahead
Finally, it’s time to start planning once again. If you want to start another company, begin creating a business plan for what you’d like it to be and how you can build on top of what you’ve done before. Maybe you’ve decided being an entrepreneur isn’t actually for you right now, so make a plan of where you want your career to go. Set new, long-term goals for yourself and begin working on those.
Most people feel the need to participate in philanthropic activities in some way and often do so by volunteering their time at an organization that works toward a solution for some social ill. Now more than ever before, people are getting involved in philanthropy and making it a top priority to give time toward a cause. However, if people really feel this way, why do so many charities desperately need volunteers? A big problem is that philanthropies do not know how to retain volunteers. While the main focus of a charity should be on helping their specific cause, it’s also important to take time to make sure volunteers are happy. It’s clear that too many people overlook the importance of satisfied volunteers, so here are some reasons to help convince you why it is so vital that those volunteering their time at a charity continue doing so.
They help run the organization
The most immediate result of keeping volunteers happy is that they help out your organization. Without volunteers, nonprofits would not be able to keep functioning, because you need people who aren’t paid to help out with different tasks. Even those who receive a paycheck for working at a philanthropy cannot do everything on their own, so it’s basically a must that there are volunteers to help with the different programs and tasks to keep the charity up and running.
They could become leaders
When people donate a significant amount of time to one organization, it’s likely to turn into a lifelong volunteer opportunity. As people become more experienced volunteers, they can take on the role of recruiting and educating new volunteers. Beyond being lifelong volunteers, current volunteers can become future leaders. Every organization eventually needs new people to take over leadership and having dedicated volunteers to fill those roles makes transitioning so much easier. Keeping happy volunteers means that you’ll be more likely to have people who want to take over leadership roles within the organization.
They’ll use what they learn
The longer someone volunteers with a specific organization, the more their mindset adapts and they take what they learn out into the world. Spending a significant amount of time volunteering helps people develop a philanthropic mindset, which changes the way they respond to the world around them. The more people volunteer, the more they’ll help others in the world outside of the organization they work at.
They further the cause
Finally, people who spend lots of time volunteering further the cause. They do so by volunteering their time at a specific organization, but they are also more likely to do so their entire lives. If someone spends hours each week giving time at a local animal shelter, they’re more likely to later donate money and time once they’re established in their careers because they’ll also feel passionate about that specific cause.
Now that you understand the importance of keeping volunteers content, it’s important to learn how to achieve this goal. Check back soon for part two of this blog on how to keep volunteers happy at a philanthropy!