I am at the 27th annual convening of the Professionals in Grantmaking Society (PIGS). What began as a group of five friends getting together to share information encouragement and frankly ” gossip has become a tradition that will probably outlive us all.
That's because the old guard manages not to tell war stories” and the young participants have the freedom to change not only the topics but the format. It's not perfect and none of us would like it to be ” but it is one of the few chances people have to meet with their peers without disruption.
I want to list some of the questions and topics that are popping up this year. There are some perennials” ” but there are also some new issues that make it worth coming year after year. These are the top 10 from this morning's discussion:
1. If being personal in philanthropy is the ideal” how personal can you be when those who benefit are thousands of miles away and likely ” you will never meet?
2. Where do good ideas come from and how can we accelerate them?
3. What do you do when you go dry and lose your edge?
4. If you have to choose between a Christian organization that is somewhat effective and a non-Christian group that is very effective” ” which would you choose?
5. What is the role of prayer in our grantmaking?
6. How do small foundations make meaningful grants to large organizations?
7. How can a funder be a catalyst in starting a movement?
8. What does it mean to move "upstream" to find solutions instead of always dealing with the immediate problem?
9. When is the time to shut down a foundation?
10. How do you manage the growing (and almost inevitable) gap between the increasing knowledge and broadening perspective of staff and the relatively narrow assumptions of the donors?
Some of these questions are generic for a number of disciplines and some are specific to funders and grantmakers” but they are all worthy of days – not just minutes – of discussion.