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It’s Time for Philanthropy to “Flip the Script”
From:
Kris Putnam-Walkerly -- Global Philanthropy Expert Kris Putnam-Walkerly -- Global Philanthropy Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Cleveland , OH
Wednesday, July 01, 2020

 

Philanthropy is never simple. Yet in 2020 the waves of crises crashing over communities everywhere have made achieving outcomes and impact harder than ever. 

Last week I gave a webinar with Annie Rhodes, Director of Funder Impact at Social Solutions. In our view, it’s time to flip the philanthropy script and embrace this moment as an opportunity to pivot for good. Here are three things you can do:

#1 REVIEW 

The first step is to take time to “look under the hood” and review your operations, strategy, programs, partnerships, or other key areas of your organization. Flip the script and ask: 

·      What has changed? Brainstorm all that has changed since the crisis began. These changes might be external or internal, big or small, and can include changes in your awareness and beliefs Don’t skip this step! The changes might seem obvious at first, like going into lockdown and the horrors of homeschooling your kids. Dig deeper and unpack all that has changed, positive and negative.

·      How have we responded to changing conditions? Being adaptive means when change happens to us we can change ourselves to accommodate and maximize the benefits of that change. To build your adaptive muscle, reflect upon all the ways you have responded to these changes. Ask:  What have we done differently and what was the result? What worked well and what didn’t work so well? Why? What did we put in place before these crises that has helped us during it? What role has technology played? What new practices do we want to maintain in the future?

·      If we could do it all over again, what would we do differently? This is one of my all-time favorite questions. Think about it. If we could turn the clock back to the end of 2019 knowing what 2020 would bring, what would you do differently? What would you put in place? How would you prepare? While we can’t predict the crises of the future, we can predict there will be more of them. How can you increase your preparedness and resilience today to prepare for tomorrow?

#2 RESET

The second step is about digging deeper to determine any necessary priority shifts and committing to accountability. The world has just changed. Whatever we were doing pre-crisis cannot possibly remain intact post-crisis. Now is the time to revamp your strategy, and to ensure that your strategy is living, agile, flexible. A clear strategy right now is your best friend. It’s a framework to help you make day-to-day decisions congruent with where you want to go. Flip the script and ask: 

·      Who do we want to be in the next 12 months? If the pandemic has shown us anything, its the futility of planning three to five years out. Think about the next 12 months. What type of impact do you want to be having a year from now?  

·      What needs to change? Look at your current situation or organization and determine: What stays the same? What needs to adapt? What needs to be radically overhauled? What should be abandoned? 

·      What are our top priorities? Pick top three most important changes you want to make to help you reach your desired future state. What are the most critical factors that will get you there? Next, assign accountabilities: Who will be responsible for what, by when? Pick a date (in the next two weeks) to review progress in implementing these top priorities.

·      Who else needs to be involved? As fabulous and talented as you are, you don’t know everything. Who else do you need to learn from and meaningfully engage in refreshing and implementing your strategy? Engage, listen to, include, and act upon these voices and perspectives.

#3 REFRAME

The third step is about transformation in practice, getting comfortable with having new types of conversations internally and with partners and grantees, and activating changes that can take root over the long term. Flip the script and ask: 

·      What habits, systems, or ways of thinking do we need to leave in the past?  Think about what you need to reframe in order to say goodbye to the status quo. This could include habits, beliefs and partners that might have served you well years ago, but no longer make sense today. Shed a light and determine what you can leave in the past.

·      Can you commit to having more open and fearless conversations with your team members, partners, and community? The best leaders show up for their people, listen to their needs, and demonstrate courage–even if it’s the courage to admit they’re uncertain about what to do. And now more than ever, these conversations should include understanding systemic racism, the roles we as individuals and organizations might play in perpetuating racist systems and structures, and what actions we can take.

·      What does long-term impact look like, and how will you and your partners know if you’ve achieved it? First, it’s important that everyone on your team understands your strategy, your top priorities, and their role in helping achieve it. That way, you are all aligned toward the same goals. Next, if your strategy is for the next 12 months, plan regular intervals – perhaps every three months – to review progress and make course corrections. While your mission stays the same, strategy can evolve and adapt as conditions change.

In times of crisis, it’s time to pivot for good.  You can learn more about how to “flip the script” and review, reset, and reframe your philanthropy by watching the replay of our webinar, Crisis In Context.

Whether you are just getting started in philanthropy, or have been around the block a few times, if you’re interested in flipping the script of your philanthropy, I can help. Let’s talk! Call me at +1-800-598-2102 x1, email me at kris@putnam-consulting.com or schedule a call.

About Kris Putnam-Walkerly

Kris Putnam-Walkerly, MSW is a global philanthropy advisor and president of Putnam Consulting Group, Inc. For more than 20 years, top global philanthropies have requested Kris Putnam-Walkerly's help to transform their giving and catapult their impact. Widely considered to be one of the most sought-after philanthropic advisors, Kris has helped over 80 foundations and philanthropists strategically allocate and assess over half a billion dollars in grants and gifts. 

As a philanthropy expert, advisor and award-winning author, Kris's clients include the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, J.M. Smucker Company, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Heising Simons-Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, Walton Family Foundations, Avery Dennison, and Fujitsu, among dozens of others.

A thought leader in transformational giving, Kris was named one of America's Top 25 Philanthropy Speakers for two years in a row. She is the author of the award-winning book Confident Giving: Sage Advice for Funders and the forthcoming book Delusional Altruism (Wiley; February 2020); a regular Forbes.com contributor on philanthropy; a global content partner to Alliance Magazine; and authored a chapter on "Transformational Giving: Philanthropy as an Investment in Change" in a new book on impact investing, The ImpactAssets Handbook for Investors. Kris is also a frequent contributor in the publications of leading philanthropy organizations, including the National Center on Family Philanthropy, Exponent Philanthropy, Southeastern Council on Foundations, Foundation Center, PEAK Grantmaking, and Giving Northern Ireland. Kris also provides expert commentary about philanthropy in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Washington Post, Entepreneur.com, and other media. Most recently, she was featured on NPR's Marketplace Morning Report and in Bloomberg Markets magazine. She co-edited The Foundation Review's themed journal on philanthropy consulting. In 2017 Kris was inducted into the Million Dollar Consulting® Hall of Fame, one of only 75 consultants chosen world-wide.

Prior to forming Putnam Consulting Group, she was a grantmaker at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and an evaluator at the highly esteemed Stanford University School of Medicine.

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Kris Putnam-Walkerly
Group: Putnam Consulting Group, Inc.
Dateline: Avon Lake, OH United States
Direct Phone: 510-388-5231
Main Phone: 800-598-2102
Cell Phone: 510-388-5231
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