To innovate, we have to think in new ways. And this begins with our board and internal leadership. Behind the tools in the Generosity Toolbox are strategies that go beyond narrow approaches to development. This fresh thinking enables us to attain breakthroughs and wildly different impact. But it requires some effort on our part to open the doors through which people can imagine differently. The pieces below assist in this. They are the first of a more extensive collection articulating innovative edges in philanthropy.
Donors give not just because there is a need. They give because of who they are—their intent and dreams and purpose. Life experiences, losses, and ways they have received from others influence how they live and give. If we understand this, and engage with donors to clarify their philanthropic identity, we become a partner in their unfolding story. We can imagine next chapters that build on what is unfolding in their life as much as what needs to be done in the world.
It’s more essential what we do after a gift than before one. We want a continuous flow of experiences that create delight and potently convey impact. Thanks and recognition, the way they are often done, are basic and boring. We must design for euphoria, surprise, and provocative ways for the donor to feel the difference they are making. If we do this well, we need to do much less asking. Experience design also takes us earlier in the relationship long before the first invitation to give. We create a heart connection to generosity in the clinical encounter.
Generosity, when fully embraced, becomes the core of our identity and is integral to everyone’s role. It shapes how patients experience us—our branding, clinical experience, and culture. It also influences our internal relationships and how we go above and beyond for each other. Generosity may even be considered a therapy because of its clinical benefit. It’s more than a funding stream. If we want physicians, nurses, and others to be all in with us, we must begin with a larger, healing context.
Images say what words cannot. Though clinical images have a role, often we need something different. We want to evoke beauty, playfulness, connection, gratitude, and abundance. We want imagery that makes us feel alive, that creates intrigue. These images give you a source from which to draw.
Wild success rarely flows from the basic mechanics of development. The basics are essential. But they aren’t magical. They seldom unleash huge energy and movement, or return results vastly greater than inputs. Here we venture onto various edges in philanthropy.