Great press for the growing Philanthropic Advisor Network. As Partnership for Philanthropic Planning sees membership decline, PAN grows exponentially. How can this be so? One group is donor-focused-advisor-centric, the other is planned-giving-officer-centric. Both speak of being inclusive. Getting true partnership across the sectors is harder than one might think, but is key to success for the field. Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (the credential I am responsible for supporting) hopes to partner with both groups, and link both communities with a common credential.
Donor-focused-advisor-centric? What that means is that PAN sees the world through the eyes of high end financial advisors who are donor/client focused. Now what is the donor focused on? Let's hope something larger than the donor or the advisor or even the nonprofit. Ideally, the donor is focused on family, mission, community, and ethically informed, strategic impact via advisor, wealth, tools and techniques of charitable planning, time, talent and the nonprofit intermediary. You can see how complex this is and how hard to write or think about with being trapped in the language of a given "silo." Even to drill down on one term like charitable tools is to enter a bibliography and multi-volume reference service within the arcane disciplines of income and estate tax planning (count on 3-10 years to call yourself semi-competent). Every term, like impact, or community, works that way. Let alone ethics. Hence, the importance of CAP, PAN, and PPP as sites of conversation and cross disciplinary collaboration and contestation.
The development of professionals in this field of fields goes like this:
- Diffident ignorance.
- Confident siloed expertise, blind and deaf to disciplines beyond the specialist's own.
- Panic and dread at being exposed to one's own ignorance of all but a narrow band of knowledge.
- Disdain and contempt for "the dark side," or the "touchy feely types," or "the mixed motives sorts."
- A growing set of friendships across the sectors
- Humilty and graciousness; a sense of appreciation for what others bring to the table.
- Team play.
- World changing results.
The field today is spread mostly among stages 1-4. PAN, CAP, and PPP are at 5. On a good day, I hit 6. On a bad day, 3. I am supposed to be an expert in "the field." In reality, several lifetimes would not be enough. So the only honest response is gratitude that others will compensate for my weakness before I do harm to those who would do good.