Bill and Dan’s Excellent Adventures

Posted by Laura Otten, Ph.D., Director on August 23rd, 2013 in Thoughts & Commentary

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I hold in high regard people who have the courage to walk the path less traveled, challenge others regardless of where they are on the org chart or in life, and swim in the waters of controversy.  As summer comes to an end,  I share with you the ideas of two people whose “different” view of things have hung around longer than either might have expected.

In 2008, Bill Schambra, then and now director of the Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal at Hudson Institute, gave a prepared statement on strategic philanthropy as part of his participation in a session at Philanthropy Roundtable’s annual meeting.  It has been resurrected, first in a speech he gave recently to folks at the Hewett Foundation and then by Nonprofit Quarterly, where the responses are flowing in.

Not to take anything away from Schambra, as he wrote eloquently, any of us on this side (potential grantees) of the foundation world know exactly of what he writes.  But if anything has changed in the five years since he originally penned these words it is that strategic philanthropy has been even more strongly embraced by the funding community.  But if five years later we are still debating the very same thing, we’ve gotten no further in improving the quality of life for all.  Time to stop debating and work in synch rather than at odds.

For the second item, we don’t need to go quite “so far” back in history.  In March of this year, Dan Pallotta, owner of Advertising for Humanity and founder of Pallotta TeamWorks (creator of the multi-day mega fundraising events), gave a TedTalk, the link to which was passed around, and then passed around again. (It is required watching in my fall class graduate MBA class.)

The  August 11 issue of The Chronicle of Philanthropy is still keeping it alive.  It is well worth a watch and, more importantly, a discussion by both board and staff, though not necessarily together. Listen to the message; worry less about the accusations that have been made about the man.

To be successful in any sector, we cannot just always simply do the work; we must take time to sit back, maybe drink a hot beverage, and think about how we (not others) should best be doing the work.

The opinions expressed in Nonprofit University Blog are those of writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of La Salle University or any other institution or individual.