By Christine Reeves
1. “Make it about others, not about you.”
2. “Get out of the office.”
3. “Bring the outside in.”
4. “Invest in what it takes.”
5. “Lead from the top.”
These five steps made sense to me, but what caught my attention were the four results that foundations can expect when they invest in empathy:
1. “Change occurs more quickly.”
GEO defines empathy on an individual level as, “the ability to reach outside ourselves and connect in a deeper way with other people – to understand their experiences, to get where they’re coming from, to feel what they feel.” According to GEO, when it comes to grantmaking, empathy is not merely a benefit. It is a necessity. Furthermore, this kind of empathy requires the grantmaking approval process to consider a variety of viewpoints: those of philanthropic leaders, nonprofit leaders, community leaders and individuals. All these individuals must be at the table for empathy to be realized. With this holistic empathy, “change occurs more quickly,” because bureaucracies that value paperwork transform into individuals who value other identifying and then helping to solve problems in communities with communities.
2. “Innovation solutions take hold.”
This happens when trustees and staff of foundations seek the highest quality concepts, strategies and ideas, even if they originate from outside sources.
3. “Philanthropy is more efficient and effective.”
This happens when grantmakers see their grantees as experts who are cultivating the best projects.
4. “Nonprofits [and communities] are stronger.”
Grantmakers will be helping nonprofits become a reliable source of positive, lasting change in their communities.
I’d like to add that these results also can be achieved when grantmakers apply their empathy by using advocacy and community organizing to engage the most underserved communities in the policy process. When this occurs, grantmakers often gain higher returns-on-investment with their finite time and resources and help systemically address societal problems.
Already, 97 empathetic grantmakers across the country have joined Philanthropy’s Promise, committing to allocate at least half their grand dollars to serve marginalized communities (according the each grantmaker’s own definition) and at least a quarter of their grant dollars to support the strategies of advocacy, community organizing and civic engagement to address the root causes of social problems. Several leaders of these 97 empathetic grantmakers that joined Philanthropy’s Promise were quoted in GEO’s report. Here is some of what they had to say:
Labels: effective philanthropy, High Impact Strategies for Philanthropy, Philanthropy's Promise, Philanthropy’s Promise