The Philanthropic Gap Between

Intention and Impact

February 23, 2022

By being more intentional in seeking out and inviting diverse excellence into our decision-making processes, we can create more innovative solutions, more resilient communities, and more meaningful change.

When strategic decisions are made by people without relevant lived experience and understanding of the communities they want to serve, the impact of those decisions may be inadequate, ineffective, and harmful.

In our recently published “81 Reasons…” report, in the section on ‘The Ramifications of Decisions Made in a Silo’ you’ll see data that demonstrates the great opportunity you have to reshape your philanthropic organizations and deliver more impactful and equitable programs and policies.

The Key To Great Decision-Making

We know that fifty percent of executive ideas fail. These mistakes can cost enormous amounts of time, energy, and resources. The culprit: misguided strategies selected and performed under pressure.

Countering these missteps involves more than just surface-level representation, this is about intentional engagement with the people who know how to create realistic solutions and support structures. 

Decisions should be made with an understanding that diversity, lived experience, and community knowledge are valuable assets. This is one of the key points in Creators Studio’s ideation process to counteract strategies that don’t involve all available talent. 

Expertise often results from times of crisis, tragedy, and transition, where urgency and necessity breed innovation and thoughtfulness.

Including Black and brown subject-matter experts in philanthropic and decision-making processes means resources can be used more efficiently, effectively, and equitably.

Equitable Data for Equitable Decision-Making

We created our report, “81 Reasons You Are Missing Out On The Next Big Thing” to provide clear evidence of the lack of diversity and equity in philanthropic systems and its impact on our communities.

With the statistics and insights from this report as your guide and inspiration:

  • Have open conversations about personal and organizational biases and their influence. Unconscious biases live outside of your awareness, so it takes diverse teamwork to recognize, mitigate, and overcome them. Review the details in this report together and discuss what it means for your organization.
  • Assess missing influences and create opportunities for contribution. What identities or groups are absent in the higher levels of your organization? Who can you bring into your decision-making process? 
  • Formalize priorities and guidelines. Be transparent and public with how decisions are made. Establish a clear method for decision-making and work to make it inclusive, accountable, and interactive.
  • Implement new structures and mechanisms for participation. Make your organization more accommodating, accessible, and welcoming. Provide opportunities for more people to be involved in critical decisions, especially those who are most affected by these decisions.
  • Expand your social network. Meet new people and identify points of connection, overlap, and shared interest so that understanding and resources can be shared more fluidly and efficiently. Use your existing networks to open doors for more people to be heard, recognized, valued, and involved.

Your decisions are critical and must be made with intention and care.

Use these 81 reasons to uplift your communities and deliver more equitable service.

Invest In Community Leadership

If you are committed to making positive change in your community, read and share this report.

Donate to Maven so that we can continue providing more tools and support like this.

When decisions are made in a silo, you lose the bigger picture and misunderstand the impact of these decisions—leading to under-valuing, under-funding, and under-serving.

Philanthropy opens the door for sharing resources, implementing solutions, and nourishing community development. But when policies and practices are influenced by narrow perspectives that fail to consider the capabilities of other viewpoints, opportunities are overlooked.

This gap between intention and impact means there is space to expand our potential, explore better possibilities, and initiate a new way forward.

Read the Report