Today the term “impact” is used rather loosely by both donor and recipient organisations. More often than not the term is used in proposals and reports just to let the term “impact” make an impact on the reader.
Of course, as we all know, having social or developmental impact is the result of a deliberate set of activities with clear and definite goals around this definition.
It’s critical to clearly differentiate between the broad term ‘impact’ and a more deliberate definition of social impact.
Impact on its own implies an influence or effect on virtually anything, given its context.
Social or Developmental impact however, is grounded in the effect it has on a pressing social challenge.
We are pleased to carry on our Blog, key insights from an article titled, “Impact is not limited to big philanthropy” written by CAP’s Board Member, Mrs. Rati F Forbes and which was originally published on India Development Review (IDR).
One may read her original by clicking on the following link:
Rati’s article is a reflection of her leadership in the field of philanthropy. She validates the maxim that leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s not about her being a Director at the Forbes Marshall Group. It is about her full-time devotion to the 'Social Initiatives' of her group companies and giving the corporate foundation which she heads a clear and strategic direction. If leadership is about impact, influence and inspiration, Rati has demonstrates by example how impact involves getting results and how she influences and inspires peers by spreading her passion for philanthropy.
When Rati thinks back to the beginning of her giving journey, she states: “I think about how I really didn’t know where to start, or how to best embark on it. I read about and researched causes that interested me and those that seemed the most essential to give to; I spoke to founders of nonprofit organisations and accompanied them on site visits; and I tried to meet others working in this area by attending as many seminars and conferences as I could.”
Part of her research involved reading articles and books written about Indian and foreign philanthropists who had been recognized and feted for their giving. And, then she comes out with an admission which many of us would resonate with: “Truth to tell, instead of being inspired by these stories of large-scale individual giving, I was scared and overwhelmed. The more I read, the more it seemed as if only giving away crores of rupees of personal wealth could lead to significant impact. It also seemed as if the most vital causes to give to were enormous ones such as the eradication of a disease, or large-scale education efforts.”
Rati speaks about lack of supporting infrastructure for smaller givers but on a more positive note she is very clear and emphatic in stating that the development ecosystem needs a variety of givers and, very possibly, the combined effort of a thoughtful group of ‘smaller givers’—people giving INR 5 to 25 lakh per year — can have the same impact as one larger donor.
Based on her giving journey, Rati shares the following wisdom and insight with readers at IDR.
- Identify a cause that resonates with you. Smaller amounts, when given smartly, can make a larger impact. That’s why it’s best that first-time philanthropists partner with a nonprofit.
- Build a long-term association with a nonprofit. Once you choose a nonprofit, invest in building a partnership. It is important that you embark on this journey together, so take the time to have conversations and understand the real needs of the organisation you are getting associated with.
- Think about sustainability. Every contribution can’t have an element of sustainability, but many can.
- Collaborate. Impact can be stronger and can have greater reach when giving is done in a collaborative mode.
We once again that India Development Review (IDR) for permitting us to carry highlights of Rati’s article and we also remind readers to read the full text of her original article by clicking on the following link: