Giving Compass’ Take:
• In this Stanford Social Innovation Review post, the Bush Foundation’s Jen Ford Reedy discusses the nature of “good” failures in philanthropy and how to generate more of them.
• Are we willing to embed the lessons here in our strategic giving? How can we both learn from mistakes and discover more flexibility as we seek solutions in the social sector?
We in the foundation world talk a lot about embracing failure, but it’s not something to take lightly. When a social or environmental investment fails, it can negatively disrupt people’s lives and erode community trust. It can also have a huge opportunity cost, taking resources and energy away from other efforts. This is why risk mitigation planning is a standard part of good philanthropic practice, and why we regularly ask ourselves: How can we design our strategies to reduce the chance of failure?
But while success should always be the goal, it’s important to remember that not all failures are created equal. There are good failures and bad failures. Many investments don’t achieve their intended outcomes, but they nevertheless: 1) contribute knowledge to the field, 2) have a significant, positive, but unintended consequence, or 3) increase the capacity of all involved to try other approaches.
Given this, I suggest we add another element to our standard practice: failure optimization planning.
Read the full article about getting the best possible failures in philanthropy by Jen Ford Reedy at Stanford Social Innovation Review.
Since you are interested in Impact Philanthropy, have you read these selections from Giving Compass related to impact giving and Impact Philanthropy?
Looking for a way to get involved?
If you are looking for opportunities to learn and connect with others interested in the topic of Impact Philanthropy, take a look at these events, galas, conferences and volunteering opportunities aggregated by Giving Compass.
Are you ready to give?
If you are looking for opportunities to take action and give money to Impact Philanthropy, here are some Giving Funds, Charitable Organizations and Projects aggregated by Giving Compass where you can take immediate action.