Have you found yourself in a position of being a philanthropic foundation leader? Perhaps you created your own charity or maybe you have simply taken over a previous role. Either way, as a foundation leader, you will inevitably make mistakes as you grow and understand the role. The following are three of the most common mistakes made by new philanthropic foundation leaders.
Managing instead of Governing
If you are on the board of a foundation, it is very easy to fall into the trap of managing instead of governing. Keep in mind that the entire purpose of having a board, according to Forbes, is to clarify the mission and vision, set strategic direction, set policy and provide financial stewardship.
Making the Simple too Complex
Too often in the world oh philanthropy, the most simple task is turned into a complex adventure. One way of avoiding this common mistake is to be aware of it. Don’t turn a simple process such as preparing for a board meeting into a complex one. If it seems simple, keep it that way. There will be plenty of actual complex problems ahead. Why do people tend to make simple things difficult in philanthropy? Many do-gooders fall into the trap of believing that complexity ensures fairness and inclusion, when in reality it simply makes everyone’s jobs more difficult.
Not Seeking the Input of the Community
No matter how diverse your board is, there will always be someone in the community who is more knowledgeable about a particular issue. Wise leaders seek input from these community members. You can do this is an informal manner, by simply talking to people as you see them out in the community, or you can hold focus groups where everyone gathers at a stated time and place. No matter how you gather the input of the community, it is imperative to seek it out and put it to use.
People enter the world of philanthropy in order to be helpful and of service. The best way for a charity to succeed is under the leadership of an effective foundation leader. These leaders should remember to govern the board members, not manage them. In addition leaders of philanthropic ventures need to keep simple things simple, and seek input from the community around them.