Walking Around Philanthropy

Philanthropy411, in partnership with the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers, is currently covering the Council on Foundations conference with the help of a blog team.  This is a guest post by Mary Galeti, Vice Chair of the Tecovas Foundation.

By:  Mary Galeti

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of “walking around philanthropy”.  It infers more than just being involved in your community.  It involves being an integral part of your community – being fully invested, visible, and accessible in your community.  It also means listening, asking for help when you need it, and including everyone in the decision making process.

It’s unfortunate how often we end up staying in our offices, and limiting our interaction with our grantees to an annual site visit.  We are getting so much better about talking with each other, but how much better can we be about involving more voices in the dialogue.  That’s, as people, how we learn.  Being fully invested in the work we do feels so good – so why don’t we do more “walking around philanthropy”?  Why do we base so much of the work we do on reporting and metrics.

Those are valuable tools, but at the end of the day, they are some of the weakest tools at our disposal.  They make us less passionate, less engaged and less connected to the communities that we are a part of.

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2 thoughts on “Walking Around Philanthropy”

  1. Hi Mary,

    I reallly love this concept. The concept of “walking around” actually stems from a management concept initially conceived of and practiced by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman
    in the early 1980s at Hewlett-Packard. It emphasizes the importance of interpersonal
    contact, open appreciation, and recognition.

    Given what we know about what motivates employee performance in the workplace. This is a no brainer now but back then it was somewhat revolutinary.

    The notion of “connectedness” continues to reveal itself as not only a core but an essential element of strong and informed decision-making. Philanthropy is no different.

  2. This is more than site visits, which any good program officer will make and which we encourage all staff to participate in, no matter what job they do. This means getting involved in community organizations that appeal to each person. This builds awareness, trust, connections, all the things that make us better as individuals and as part of a community.

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