To: Funders, Active Citizens, Advisors, Charitable Champions, and Leaders of Philanthropic Networks. Seems to me that none of us will "corner the market on philanthropy." But, perhaps, we can work together at Gifthub and elsewhere to expand the circle of generosity. Could be good business and it will certainly be good citizenship. Below are some practical steps.
Let's say that a grassroots cause looks through Phil's Rolodex and the Active Citizen list and makes a few calls to identify qualified advisors and resources in her local community. She could then hold a soirée for selected advisors and an appropriate cadre of her charitable constituents. If the advisors are conversant, not only with the so-called tools and techniques of philanthropy, but also with a wisdom centered process that puts the donor first, as a human being with many responsibilities, rather than as a "prospect" or client to be handled, then the local advisors and the charitable champion can provide something of real value to donors - not just a gift opportunity, but an open space in which they can think through what they are trying to accomplish with their money, and their days, for their lifetime and after their death through their legacy. As donors go through this process and are helped by it, the charity has now got a national network, or network of networks, it can pulse in other cities, using the these first cases as "success stories."
If a donor has worked successfully with, say, someone referred to her by Melissa Cliett of SunTrust, or by Carol Yonack at Wells Fargo, or by King Mcgloughon at the American College, or David Ratcliffe at Merrill, or by me at Nautilus, or Steve Johnson at The Philanthropic Initiative, or by Claire Costello at CITI, then the promotional path, or "pattern of uplift," is clear enough. Have the charitable champion, the advisor, and maybe the donor talk at a national meeting of both the charity and the financial or advisory firm. Begin to pulse both networks for contacts in the next city. Have each of us, regardless of cause or firm, share on Gifthub lessons learned, so that we can expand these charitable initiatives for the sake of donor, cause and country, as well as for our own companies, friends and constituents.
What I like about the idea is that no one is pushing. The local charitable champion develops a roster of well-recommended people. She just encourages her constituents to socialize with these potential allies and advisors. "Just lunch." No one claims to have a perfect national network for all occasions; no one firm claims to have all the answers; no one ever has to arrange a "shot gun" marriage between an advisor and a constituent. The potential funder is herself always in charge, and she makes her own decisions. The only over-arching ideal is that we treat each other, including potential funders, as human beings first and foremost, providing them with a supportive space in which they can be as generous and as noble as they find it in themselves to be, considering the complexity of their financial situation, and the variety of their other financial, personal, and charitable obligations.
Call it "wisdom centered philanthropy," within a network of networks, a Gifthub with many spokes.
Would be very interested in your take on this, whether you comment as advisor, charitable champion, potential constituent, citizen, or leader of a charitable network. (Was trained in business planning to always seek "the fatal flaw," the reason a plan may not work. Do you see any?)