Updated: Jul 29, 2021
I just read HBR article, “Breaking the Least-You-Can-Do Cycle.” Dan Pallotta explores the term philanthropist. The popular perception is that of the billionaire donor versus, as Pallotta describes, “the poor bastard who spends 100% of her time serving as the executive director of a homeless charity…” Yes, philanthropy is rooted in its Greek origin – love of humanity. Anyone who cares about some one, some issue, some thing deserves rights to the term. I like this line the best in the article – “But by applying the term “philanthropist” only to the rarified few who make outside donations, we rob the average person of an important aspiration.” The article continues to explore how nonprofits treat individual donors by their level of gifting. It is definitely a matter of time and resource management. Mass appeals for the masses, tailored appeals for the major donors. Pallotta calls for a new age of citizen philanthropy and the challenge is on nonprofits to create donor programs that are meaningful even for the smallest donor. I also think the responsibility falls on the donor too. Take a thoughtful approach to spending resources on issues, people and things that you care about.