Effective philanthropy requires adapting to changing circumstances. Yet, most philanthropists do not approach philanthropy in this way, writes Susan Wolf Ditkoff, a partner and co-leader of the philanthropy practice at the Bridgespan Group, in her introduction to Giving that Gets Results, a Stanford Social Innovation Review–Bridgespan eight-week series of new blogs, videos and webinars. Instead, she says, all too many philanthropists "either stick to the old model—a rigid plan that they desperately try to follow despite the fact that it won’t work anymore—or they find themselves lurching from grant to grant, slipping back into old, opportunistic habits and making a disconnected set of grants that don’t add up to anything."
Rather than approaching philanthropy with rigid multi-year plans that take years to evaluate and months to refresh, philanthropists who approach their giving with an adaptive mindset rely more on decision trees and scenario analysis, she says. Such philanthropists are sensitive to the external environment, watchful of changing circumstances that they then respond to with thoughtful, yet highly responsive, adjustments.
To sharpen your own adaptive philanthropy skills, join Ditkoff and presenters Steve McCormick, Jenny Shilling Stein, and Jeff Walker—who each take distinct yet complementary approaches to philanthropy—for Thursday's complimentary webinar "Adaptive Philanthropy: Getting Results in Uncertain Environments," and then follow along as SSIR and Bridgespan present a series of blogs, videos, and webinars that explore adaptive philanthropy, and other new and important approaches to philanthropy.