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Michael Levine’s blog
Although we have typically emphasized the importance for effective philanthropy of long-term commitment to causes and getting the right people in place, the most obvious day-to-day decision funders face is whether to support specific potential giving opportunities. As part of our internal guidance for program officers, we’ve collected a series of questions that we like to ask ourselves about potential funding opportunities, including: [node:read-more:link]
We have had a lot of new staff join Open Philanthropy over the last year. In this post, I’d like to introduce the new members of our team. We’re excited to have them!
More new staff are joining soon, and I will be introducing them in coming months. [node:read-more:link]
This post aims to give blog readers and followers of the Open Philanthropy Project an opportunity to publicly raise comments or questions about the Open Philanthropy Project or related topics (in the comments section below). As always, you’re also welcome to email us at [email protected] if there’s feedback or questions you’d prefer to discuss privately. We’ll try to respond promptly to questions or comments.
There’s an adage about philanthropists: “when you become a philanthropist you never again eat a bad meal or tell a bad joke.”
Being a funder comes with unusual challenges to activities as simple as gathering feedback, exchanging ideas, and expressing opinions:
- It can be extremely difficult to get honest, critical feedback from potential grantees (who often fear that giving critical feedback could jeopardize their funding).
- Tentative or unconsidered program officer feedback can have more effect than intended in shaping potential grantee priorities, even if the program officer only meant to offer a consideration or idea.
- It is easy to “lead people on” and waste their time, even when we aren’t trying to do so. Expressing even casual interest in something can be interpreted by a prospective grantee as encouragement to put a great deal of planning and work into things they hope we’ll fund.