To practice Tactical Philanthropy is to organize, optimize, and transfer philanthropic capital in ways that maximize the impact of the donor’s strategic plan. It is the practice of transforming philanthropic strategy into reality.
Philanthropy is at its core a series of financial transactions. Just as a well-designed financial plan is valuable only if the correct savings vehicles are selected, created, and funded, a great Strategic Philanthropy plan is valuable only if the right tactics are discovered or created and finally implemented. Tactical Philanthropy concerns itself with structuring these transactions in ways that are efficient and mutually advantageous to donors and nonprofits.
Let me say that to me philanthropy at its core is a personal, moral, and political (in the largest sense of serving the polis or community) act, virtue, or way of being in the world. Sometimes philanthropy is financial. But giving can be of time, attention, talent, or even of one's own blood, as in giving blood, or shedding blood in a good cause. Philanthropy at its core is a civic virtue. That said, unacted virtue, or virtue that acts ineffectively, is imperfect. Financial giving is indeed a financial transaction, or set of tools. The tools are tactical. They should answer strategic ends, and the strategies should answer to vision. And the whole ensemble should create life, energy, and disproportinate results, as when a gift sparks a cultural movement, or inspires a whole community to come together around an issue. Giving, indeed, "transforms reality." Some of that is "results," in the sense of metrics. But reality also changes when a businesslike donor who is all about money, metrics and results, puts her glasses on the table, looks out the window, and says, "You know, I set out to set others straight, to fix others, to help them. And now after these last few months face to face with those in need I see how blind I was, how out of touch, and how arrogant. I have learned more and gained more from those I help than they ever have from me. I only wish I could do more. Can I?"