You probably have charitable causes which you feel strongly about. You want to contribute to organizations that seek to solve a particular social, health, environmental, or educational problem. You also want to make sure that your donations are having an impact. This is where the idea of catalytic philanthropy comes in. The concept was discussed by Mark R. Kramer in the fall 2009 edition of the Stanford Social Innovation Review. The problem with traditional charitable giving is that you are often not certain after making your donation how the funds are being used. With catalytic philanthropy, you take charge in organizing the means to a solution and bringing about a measurable result. For example, if you were interested in the environment, you could adopt a highway through the Texas Department of Transportation. You would then be responsible for enlisting other volunteers to help make sure litter is removed from the sides of a stretch of highway. This would provide you with a practical way to bring about a positive, measurable change to the environment. You could develop creative ways to enlist those in the immediate area to help you keep the area clean and appealing.
Giving With Impact
By taking responsibility for the success of the philanthropic goal, you start thinking about how to solve the social, health, environmental, or educational problem. Rather than thinking about which organization to support, you would become knowledgeable about the issue and actively recruit collaborators.
You would work on setting up a campaign for change and mobilizing persons who are affected by the problem. That way, the persons who have a stake in the outcome are working toward its successful completion.
You are also able to make use of many different tools, such as corporate resources, investment capital, advocacy, and lobbying. These diverse tools might not be available to traditional nonprofit organizations.
Catalytic philanthropy allows you to bring about changes that you believe in, while having a measurable impact. You will have the peace of mind of knowing that the time and money you invest have brought about the changes you seek.