11 philanthropy lessons from programs

Sometimes lessons and models are nearby, and other times they are much farther away. In one case, a country in Africa became the focal point for an enterprise that proved to have benefits around.

In the book “Tapping Philanthropy for Development” edited by Lorna Michael Butler and Della E. McMillan, O. Richard Bundy III outlines the lessons learned from the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (CSRL) program, a public-private partnership meant to address some of the root causes of rural poverty in Uganda. Although the program was a success, Bundy wrote, the following 11 lessons were learned:

  • Make initial contact with the fundraising office of the institution that hopes to develop a new program.
  • Cultivate a relationship with the fundraising officer in case unanticipated funding opportunities emerge.
  • Identify a core group of experienced individuals, including the fundraising officer, who are committed to the program idea.
  • Work with the fundraising office to seek some start-up funds for planning a new initiative, including pilot tests.
  • Build a trust relationship between the interested benefactors and the organization to increase the chances for success.
  • Include potential benefactors in some of the key planning deliberations about possible directions, approaches, strategies and partnerships.
  • Help management communicate with the rest of the organization and with the fundraising office.
  • Share progress with current and potential benefactors as the program advances.
  • Be open to innovative ideas.
  • Continue to foster a solid working relationship with the fundraising office.
  • Continue to explore new sources of support for the program.