The Seemingly Intractable
We engage in the work of the social sector because each of us (from varying perspectives and orientations to the work) believes that our efforts will serve the greater good, coming ever closer to solving intractable equity, distribution and opportunity imbalances.
Investments of finances and intellectual capital are made by the philanthropic and nonprofit communities with diligence to mission and vision fulfillment. However, it is with far too much frequency that the decisions surrounding these investments are seen as either siloed or emerging from a power imbalance.
The question therefore becomes: are the investments in concert and mutually understood?
Convening dialogue between the philanthropic and nonprofit communities is a cornerstone of the Foundation Center’s work. In doing so, we are able to facilitate important discussions about collaboration, transparency, competition, and redundancy of effort that enable solution-oriented discourse aimed at addressing major social issues.
Think of this example as a starting point. According to the Nonprofit Finance Fund’s 2014 State of the Sector Report (http://survey.nonprofitfinancefund.org/), nonprofits see a growing demand for existing and new programming. However, they also report that their ability to meet these demands far exceeds their capacity. This poses a whole series of questions, such as: are these needs aligned with the funding decisions and priorities of the philanthropic community? And to what extent are these priorities fully understood by the philanthropic and nonprofit communities in terms of their overall investment strategies?
Convening the social sector around the findings of the report and similar trend documents is a great way to foster data-driven dialog. Toward that end, over the next several blog posts I will be discussing innovative, engaging and effective ways in which the philanthropic and nonprofit communities are coming together to address the intersection of the social sector and the societal issues it seeks to address. I encourage your participation in this endeavor. So if you should have relevant examples, please share them.
As always, be focused on knowledge, innovation and impact!
John Patrick Bailey, Ph.D.