Reading the Philanthropy 2173 post today on "The Market of Philanthropy Advisers" resonated with a vision that I think many of us have for the Social Venture Partner movement. Over the years, our various partnerships take on new communications campaigns and messaging to present a model of "engaged philanthropy" and "venture philanthropy" that in a sense is all about what Lucy Bernholtz is talking about.
Acknowledging the slow but increasing maturation of the philanthropic sector, we learn that there is still very little academic or standardization of philanthropic advising in general. Whether formal or informal, the entry level cost of becoming an adviser to the worlds wealthiest is "almost negligible".
Lucy highlights the importance of networks and social media in this field.
"But in our world today, where data are increasingly commodified and analysis/synthesis/expertise increasingly dispersed - the innovations from the bottom will - and should - affect the thinking of the top. Networks can generate more ideas, vet more ideas, and provide a more robust feedback process than any single adviser. They can mix experts and crowds."
I see this play out every day in Dallas Social Venture Partners where the crowd is the partnership trying to make a difference, not necessarily paid consultants and evaluators. The partners themselves represent a formal network among each other and a myriad of networks they bring to the table. The metrics they lead with are based in the qualitative, relationship based activities and storytelling. It makes sense, our philanthropists are among the same community they are trying to effect. And while the quantitative certainly offers the street-cred for the partnership to claim impact and victory, it is the qualitative that continues to drive the communications and influence from on-the-ground.
For more than 12 years, Social Venture Partner International has collected and captured the quantitative data that rolls up from each of the 25 cities to help prove our model as effective and impactful to the philanthropic and nonprofit sector. But the change-making work, the community impact is happening on the ground with each partnership.
Over the last couple years, we have seen several of the SVP's achieve and pass the decade mark. With that longevity, comes a robust portfolio of diverse missions that SVP partners and leaders have nurtured, grown and served. With that service comes the tribal knowledge of what works and what is innovative.