It is sad to note that philanthropy is not as impactful as it should be. This is due to many philanthropists being afraid to be bold and take risks. Many want to stick to the traditional form of philanthropy of giving out funds without creating meaningful impact.
Also, there is no open discussion about risk in philanthropy. In the world of philanthropy, calculated risk is essential. Philanthropists invest money to achieve specific results. And just like any other investment, there is an interplay between risk and return in philanthropy.
There is a system failure in the world today in that philanthropists do not get the impact they intend. For instance, MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, may not achieve philanthropy’s societal impact even though she makes considerable donations to organizations.
Why? Even with her good intentions, MacKenzie Scott is conservative with her approach. She falls into the regular donations rather than fund an unconventional idea that she has passion. Her donations cut across organizations fighting racism, climate-sensitive organizations, and pro-democracy groups. She may be creating an impact but not to the extent the colossal donations should. She can do much more.
Scott is not the only one taking this traditional philanthropy approach. Others, like Jack Ma and Larry Ellison, have followed suit. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with their intentions. However, they can achieve much more impact.
You might be wondering how they can do this. Donors can disrupt the philanthropy world through catalytic philanthropy. This approach is different from charitable donations. It goes beyond writing a cheque. The philanthropist goes a mile further to research the source of the problem facing society. Instead of pouring money into the problem, the philanthropist establishes the root cause first. That’s results in using the power of money responsibly.
Catalytic philanthropists do not ignore the aspect of risk. Otherwise, this would jeopardize the impact of their funding. They, however, assess and measure risk vis a vis the return of their donations. This strategic philanthropy embraces risk through progressive risk management systems. With this approach, they develop disruptive solutions to the world’s challenges.
To wrap things up, philanthropy is not as simple as just giving donations. Until risk-taking becomes the norm, philanthropists will miss the chance of maximizing impact. Risk is about being quick and reacting to the environment to provide customized solutions.