In this episode, Ellie interviews Phil Buchanan, President of the Center for Effective Philanthropy and author of the new book, Giving Done Right: Effective Philanthropy and Making Every Dollar Count. In his book, Phil shares compelling lessons and insights for givers—from the foundation CEO or program officer to the mega-donor to the everyday check writer—about what effective philanthropy takes.
During the interview, Phil describes four dimensions of effective philanthropy, which include:
- Being clear on your goals
- Collaborative strategy
- Collaborative implementation
- Indicators that inform learning and improvement
In this episode:
- Meet Phil Buchanan (2:00)
- About the book Giving Done Right (3:30)
- What is effective philanthropy? (5:45)
- Effective philanthropy vs. strategic philanthropy (7:30)
- Four dimensions of effective philanthropy (9:40)
- What’s not working in philanthropy and why (11:45)
- Characteristics of an effective philanthropist (15:55)
- Business vs. philanthropy, “giving is not like investing” (20:50)
- Tips to bridge generations and philanthropic approaches (25:48)
- Effective philanthropy in the short and long-term (33:30)
- When do you to abandon an initiative? (36:05)
- How to find Phil and Giving Done Right (39:45)
- Bonus questions (40:20 )
Resources from this episode:
Notable and Quotable:
Effective philanthropy is about being clear on your goals and maximizing progress towards those goals. —Phil Buchanan
In giving, if your strategy is yours alone, you will fail. Strategy in philanthropy is about collaborative dynamics, not competitive dynamics. —Phil Buchanan
Lead with humility—do less talking about how to be effective and more listening and learning from the people on the ground doing the work. —Phil Buchanan
Boards often struggle with the desire to know definitively ‘what did we accomplish?’ This is one of the great challenges in philanthropy. Boards should constantly seek information and understand that they’ll never have completely satisfying information. —Phil Buchanan
Phil Buchanan, president of CEP, is a passionate advocate for the importance of philanthropy and the nonprofit sector and deeply committed to the cause of helping foundations and individual donors to maximize their impact. Hired in 2001 as the organization’s first chief executive, Phil has led the growth of CEP into the leading provider of data and insight on philanthropic effectiveness. CEP has been widely credited with bringing the voices of stakeholders to funders and with contributing to an increased emphasis on key elements of effectiveness.
Phil is author of Giving Done Right: Effective Philanthropy and Making Every Dollar Count, released in the spring of 2019. He is co-author of many CEP research reports, a columnist for The Chronicle of Philanthropy, and a frequent blogger for the CEP Blog. Phil is also co-founder of YouthTruth, an initiative of CEP’s designed to harness student perceptions to help educators and funders accelerate improvements in K–12 schools and classrooms. In 2016, he was named the Nonprofit Times “influencer of the year.” Phil serves on the board of directors of Philanthropy Massachusetts.
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