"Taking risks is often perceived inside organizations as equaling wasted donor dollars, poor operating to program ratios and fear of negative public perception."
A week doesn't go by when there isn't an article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy or Non Profit Quarterly about an amazing organization that has received funding from a major philanthropic foundation or philanthropist. The story is usually the same, non profit X has demonstrated incredible success and is being rewarded by foundation Y with a big cheque of support.
There is nothing wrong with such support or announcements, but have you ever wondered where is the article of foundation X or philanthropist Y funding a failure? Even better, when you are thinking about making a charitable donation or investing in a social enterprise have you ever asked yourself whether you are prepared to fund a failure?
Now before you dismiss this question as silly or worse, nonsensical, holding fast to the classical definition of failure as a "lack of success" and "an unsuccessful person, enterprise or thing", think about failure in a different light, namely, a person or organization that is willing to develop and implement a new solution or idea that hasn't been tested before. Failure from this perspective is about taking risks and innovating knowing that despite your best instincts and experience it could fail.
Phillip Haid is Co-Founder & CEO of Public Inc.