Sean Stannard-Stockton, a philanthropic advisor, began today to outline the process he calls "Tactical Philanthropy." It looks like an excellent process, one that is visionary and strategic, as well as tactical. What I, following Tracy Gary, have been calling, "Inspired Legacy Planning," embodies much the same process - which is not surprising since the process has its own logic; plus Sean and I have disciplinary training in common, and are drawing on the same emerging professional body of practice. What I suspect Sean will emphasize is the importance of execution and monitoring of social investments or gifts. Philanthropic plans start with visions, or goals, some very high level, sometimes almost breathless ("a better world") but must through a disciplined process drill down to specific tactics that can be implemented, tested, and monitored. For a giver or an advisory team to hold all the moving parts in mind, and run or fund the philanthropic project in a businesslike way, no matter how high flown the goals, is truly not only a challenge, but a discipline that is only now taking shape. When you see it as a matter of the donor's resources (financial, intellectual, social) and a hierarchy of real world results the giver seeks, you begin to see nonprofits as just one of many ways to effect change. As donors turn to advisors like Sean, community foundations and nonprofits will have to adjust. No longer will a "major gift" per se necessarily be the default choice. Increasingly you will see donors, with the assistance of philanthropic advisors, reaching down into the projects funded through nonprofits and asking, "How can I get the results of this project achieved more cost effectively, better, and faster, without having to go through these, perhaps, sluggish, wasteful, and disorganized intermediaries?" I do not know Sean yet personally, but he strikes me as the kind of intellect that will not accept stock answers or stock pitches from the nonprofit the donor may have funded in the past. I suspect he would be asking hard questions about dollars in and results out. And he would be presenting his clients with thoughtful alternatives, including for-profit alternatives, to traditional giving strategies through traditional nonprofits. I will be interested to see how his series of posts on this topic plays out. I would be particularly interested in case studies (presumably fictionalized) showing how the process of tactical philanthropy works in practice.