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The Philanthropic Path Forward


2 September 2010 at 3:25 pm
Staff Reporter
A US expert has warned Australia's funders and Not for Profits not to use dollars to measure the importance of the growing philanthropic sector or to become risk averse.

Staff Reporter | 2 September 2010 at 3:25 pm


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The Philanthropic Path Forward
2 September 2010 at 3:25 pm
Susan Raymond, the Executive Vice?President of US Not for Profit, Changing Our World warns Australian philanthropists not to become risk averse

A US expert has warned Australia's funders and Not for Profits not to use dollars to measure the importance of the growing philanthropic sector or to become risk averse.

Susan Raymond, the Executive Vice?President of the US Not for Profit, Changing Our World, has told the annual Philanthropy Australia conference in Melbourne that the dollar value of the transfer of wealth is nothing compared to the opportunity it represents.

Susan Raymond, PhD, is also Chief Analyst for onPhilanthropy.com, Changing Our World's media division and a global resource for Not for Profit professionals. Raymond has extensive experience in research, analysis and planning, most recently with the New York Academy of Sciences. Prior to this she was a project officer at the World Bank and a senior consultant to the U.S. Agency for International Development and to various private organisations including the Carnegie Corporation, specialising in healthcare and international economic research.

Raymond told the audience that the combination of size and societal significance means that philanthropy must take itself very, very seriously.

She says philanthropy must be more disciplined in problem-solving, more judicious in identifying problems and seizing opportunities, more transparent about its failures as well as its successes, and more careful about its governance.

She says philanthropy, and the Not for Profits it funds, are in the serious business of contributing to societal problem solving, not in their own interests but in the interests of the people.

Raymond says as the sector becomes more concerned with impact, measuring results, and with ensuring effectiveness of the money spent by philanthropy, it is in danger of making philanthropy risk averse.

She warns that the price of being risk averse will be huge – leading the sector away from the world of ideas, and from thinking about problems and opportunities in hugely different ways.

In an effort to be more futures oriented, Raymond suggests that every philanthropy should adjust its giving portfolio to devote 10% of its resources to funding risk and the world of ideas.

She told the conference to look for the best, most interesting questions being asked about the future and allocate 10% of their portfolio to intellectual risk even though there will be no immediate proof of impact.

Raymond said she was envious of the younger people in the audience who will lead philanthropy to new places, to new meaning, to new results and pursue the road of philanthropy to a changed world.

To read the full speech go to: http://www.philanthropy.org.au/conference/docs/PA-Conference2010-Susan-Raymond-Speech.pdf
 



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