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Increasing Speed in Philanthropy

by Kris Putnam-Walkerly

Nov 2, 2018

In philanthropy, we seem to be perpetually rushing from one thing to the next, both as individuals and as an entire industry. There's always a new technology to learn, more grant applications to evaluate, and another nonprofit coalition forming. Yet while everyone is moving quickly and feeling busy, the real change we seek comes along at the pace of snails. We're spending so much time working harder that we're not thinking about how we can work smarter. To start focusing on impact instead of deadlines, we need to change both the mindset and the work patterns that hold us back. And to do that we need to slow down — to question, brainstorm, and plan — so that we can move fast when it comes adapting to the dynamic changes of philanthropy.

Why is this important? Because every delay prevents our ability to have an impact — and impact in philanthropyis about people's lives. When we're talking about ensuring access to high-quality preschools, preventing drug overdoses, or reforming immigration policies, we are talking about changing people's lives. And if we believe that what we do matters, then we should seek to make dramatic improvements as quickly as we can.