Archive for July, 2010

Philanthropy Lesson#001: “Failure is Good”

July 28, 2010

Welcome to “Philanthropy Lessons”, the Institute for Philanthropy‘s blog on donor education.  In this blog, we’ll draw attention to the most pressing issues in the field of strategic philanthropy: and we’ll  share with you both our own views, and those of innovative people whose work contains valuable lessons for thoughtful donors everywhere.

The first topic is that of failure: a topic not often touched upon in philanthropy or, for that matter, in many other disciplines, where the emphasis is on putting your best foot forward at all costs.  Yet much can be learned from falling short.  As the saying goes, “if you hit the bullseye every time, you’re standing too close to the dartboard”; often, a failure to achieve your objectives in your philanthropy can pave the way for a more nuanced, and most likely more successful, approach. 

It’s with that in mind that we link to an article on this very topic; “Positive Failure”, by David Simms in the Harvard Business Review.  Setting the standard for many Philanthropy Lessons to follow, it is an invigorating and thought-provoking read.