Most donors choose a few areas to support about which they are passionate—the arts and education, say, or climate change and child health.
Sean Stannard-Stockton, an adviser to donors and a Chronicle contributor, says on his blog that he’s come across a number of foundations and donors that don’t think about giving in that way. Instead, he says, they are “issue agnostic.”
The Lodestar Foundation, for example, describes itself as not being “focused on any specific field of interest and focus instead on leveraging resources.” Many donors support “social entrepreneurs,” regardless of what issue they seek to tackle. And a client of Mr. Stannard-Stockton’s says he cares less about the particular issue and more about the opportunity to help expand successful nonprofit models.
Mr. Stannard-Stockton says such issue-agnostic donors make him wonder if conventional philanthropy advice—prioritize the areas about which you care most—may be backwards.
What if a better approach, he says, is for donors to consider giving to issues about which they have any interest at all, even if those causes aren’t their passions, and then seek out opportunities for maximizing impact?
Do you know any donors like the ones Mr. Stannard-Stockton describes, who are more focused on achieving impact than influencing a cause? What do you think of this approach?