What is the Innovation Philanthropy Initiative?
Founded as a voice to advocate to non-profit leaders, donors, and boards of directors that foster creative solutions and encourage involvement at every level, from all voices, to tackle today’s complex challenges.
Working and leading in the non-profit field, Alice is called upon to address challenges and opportunities ranging from eh mundane to large scale systemic issues. The concept of Innovation Philanthropy was initially developed by Alice to challenge her own decision making, quickly realizing how important it was to share what each of us has learned in non-profit leadership, promote creative thinking processes, and encourage others to get involved and join the conversation. With this, the Innovation Philanthropy Initiative was formed.
Why is innovation important in philanthropy?
Non-profits are traditionally subject to environmental pressures of goal setting. The focus is on fundraising results, building, and retaining a donor pool, and achieving short-term demonstrable program impact. Historically, the philanthropic The world is guided by the principle that donors expect and deserve an economically efficient and short-term impact in exchange for their donation.
These pressures leave little room for creativity and innovation which require time to try different approaches, the ability to adjust as the process unfolds, and the freedom to measure program effectiveness in varying ways to define success. Educating donors about the innovation process will lead to an understanding that their impact could be much greater with a changed mindset as to what and how they support the organizations and causes they passionately care about.
What is holding Philanthropy back from stewarding transformative change?
Not all new efforts will work out as hoped. That is the nature of innovation, it does not come easy.
Boards have a lot to consider when carrying out their fiduciary duties. Today’s emphasis on accountability through impact, expected by donors and management as the measure for success, results in forces that are contrary to the innovation process:
Innovation takes risk.
Shifting the non-profit culture towards the unknown takes work, but it is worthwhile. Strong leadership can educate boards and donors to be comfortable and confident with risk to focus less on short-term successes and more on the need to create space for creativity, exploring ideas, and the necessary room for failure.
We are responsible for how we preserve and further our culture and community. Become an Innovation Philanthropist and invest your time, energy, and resources on making the best possible outcomes for our future.