Foreign Policy Blogs

It's a Lifestyle.

Whether you eat, sleep, and breathe philanthropy or whether you can barely pronounce the word, the entire sector revolves around personal choice.  No matter how fancy or interactive our industry is able to make the word, the feeling, the community – the decision on when, where, or whether to participate will always be based on the individual. 

With that option, you can choose not to participate.  Or to participate a little.  Or to participate when nothing better is on TV.

The same goes for technology in the sector.  Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Podcasts, Webinars, and on and on – as a funder, non-profit, or individual you are responsible for how you choose to work.  What is most effective may not be your style – and thus, making it less effective for your mission.

I hear folks in the field say they want to adopt certain practices, certain technologies because “they think they should”, but I offer another way to think about it.  A tool is just a tool – until you understand why you want to use it and when you need to use it. 

If your position in the sector is thriving with direct mail and telemarketing, then switching for the sake of the times, may not be for you.  On the flip side, if you have nothing to say or don’t know what you are trying to say – there are no amount of tools and widgets to help you  focus your communication.

As far as I’ve seen, there’s no one right way to do philanthropy.  Being authentic that giving is an individual choice may help us to create stronger communities around issues as a whole.  Driving communication with the individual in mind is the goal, no matter which medium you choose.

Knowing that there is more than one way to communicate, we can be reassured that “space” will never run out.  We’re in this together, regardless of our tendencies to stereotype generations. 

Embracing philanthropy, embracing technology – it’s a lifestyle.  And not one size fits all.