— Foundation Center (@fdncenter) October 8, 2013
At first my recent event with World Book Night came to mind (you can read all about that here) because I thought it would have some parallel between the classic book of the near same name. However, I found myself not in a philosophical or introspective discussion on engineering a “happy place”. Instead, I ventured into another world – the world of philanthropy and specifically in Foundation Center’s President, Brad Smith‘s world.
In his thoughtfully written blog post, Brad Smith opens the conversation with a very evident trend that “doing good” is no longer limited to the nonprofits or the philanthropic. Instead, as I have also seen, the idea of ‘social good’ has become a growing trend within social enterprises, start ups and even entrepreneurs. Brad validated some of my own theories and thoughts on the six assumptions he addresses, but the two that resonated with me had to do with Transparency and Hackathons. I figured instead of leaving a lengthy blog comment (which is something he probably would have preferred), I’d take my deep thoughts on the topics and work on filling my blog posts quota for the month. I’m hoping Brad Smith will understand and respect my…transparency! 😉
We know who’s on their boards and staff, where the money comes from, to which organizations it goes, and for what, where, and whom it is destined to benefit. Foundations and nonprofits may not be hip, but they are more transparent. – Brad Smith, A Brave New World of Good
Talk about ‘brave’, Brad Smith decided to use the widely infamous organization Good as an example of a need for more transparency. I too love the good that Good promotes because it embodies the free, innovative and creative spirit. I really see how it as a movement fueled by do gooders; without this sense of institutional constraint or ownership. I’m sure that’s what everyone loves about it because I do!
However, my thoughts on transparency go beyond the idea behind the standard public disclosure of information. I do understand the need to know who’s behind these companies, where the money is coming from and to which organizations they benefit. My addition to the disclosure has to do with impact & effectiveness. It’s my belief that as we become more of a social culture, the public will want to experience the impact they have contributed to or understand how it came to be. In other words, they want a connection to the investment they made and it’s not so much about the money as it is about the change they are making in the world. In other words, It’s one thing to say we raised $1 million dollars after a gala or crowd funding event. It’s another to allow the public an opportunity to witness the journey the money takes. Let them have a social experience that takes them from donation to impact.
I know sounds crazy but I can totally visualize this social network page or mobile app that shares the milestones of the $1 million until every single penny is spent where contributors to that effort can feel a part of the actually mission. Yes that’s definitely goin to require a brave new world, but more on part of those raising the money and responsible for its distribution.
Let’s be brave; new world and embrace accountability as a social experience!
To be continued on the topic of Hackathons in a future blog post…