Social projects/initiatives/acitivities or, to simplify, philanthropy has no built-in systemic forces to motivate continuous improvement. The absence of external accountability is what gives philanthropy its freedom to experiment, take risks, and pursue long-term initiatives on society’s behalf. At the same time, it also means that if you as a philantropist do not demand excellence of yourself no one else will require it of you.
Philanthropists can and do support almost anything, from educating school children, to carrying homeless dogs and/or disable and/or elderly people, to giving people the information they need to take action on their own behalf and on behalf of others who may be halfway around the world. This absolute freedom is philanthropy’s great strength, in that it allows donors to express their individuality, creates room for innovation, and provides support for the myriad institutions and centers of power and activity that characterize democratic societies. But it can also become its Achilles’ heel, when a donor’s gifts are spread so thin that none of them ever amounts to very much.
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Philanthropy is a buyers’ market, and nonprofit leaders are seldom in a position to negotiate aggressively with potential donors. On the contrary, the selection process is (and feels) quite one sided, as though potential grantees are participating in a beauty contest in which the only imperative is to please the judges. So, for better or worse, the views of an individual donor (especially a very large one) can strongly influence grantee behavior. Often this influence will take the form of tweaks to an existing program, or the addition of a new activity, more or less aligned with the nonprofit’s existing strategy, about which a leading donor is enthusiastic. When such an intervention is supported on the donor’s part by deep knowledge of the field, it can provide helpful input to the grantee’s strategy.
Friday has started with an email from the Ministry of Social Affairs:
We would like to inform you your project was reviewed by our experts, it met all requirements and we would like to offer you to sign financing agreement.
That means M. Čiuželio labdaros ir paramos fondas (M. Ciuzelis Charity Foundation) won the biggest in its 5 years history financing tender for Sidabrinė linija (the Silver Line) - a free of charge be-friending and support helpline providing information, friendship and advise for the old age people. Without any further conditions, the way we presented and wished to implement our project.
The day just couldn’t be any better. Thank you
When you celebrate your birthday, how you behave: are you expecting gifts or rather send them yourselves to your friends, partners, relatives - everyone who followed (and still follows) you through your life journey?
At Sidabrine linija we celebrate sending our gratitudes to everyone who shares the same mission or passion or just an idea to help elderly live longer, healthier, better lives.
We will celebrate our forth anniversary next week. With 600+ friends. And our small gifts to all of them are under way already.
A subtle shift from “against” to “for” is enormously powerful. Gandhi famously spoke of this in his talks and writings: “It’s not that I’m against British rule. It’s that I am for Indian independence.” When we are clear that our goal is for something, we stop moving away from something negative and start moving toward something positive. This kind of movement has a whole different quality to it—a quality of gentleness, generosity, and light.
At Sidabrine linija we do not fight old age people loneliness (we are not “against” it) but rather offer them a friend to talk to, an emotional support when needed and that helps to create a huge positive impact in their daily lives.