JCL Blog

Let's Get Started - You Know, Now!

I just had the pleasure of attending the Audacious Philanthropy conference in Portland.  It was an electric collection of 300 people getting jacked up about being changemakers.  With a limitless supply of things that need changing there was a whole lot to talk about.

Education is my big issue and many people at the conference shared my desire to improve education in the US of A.  Some people wanted to change the current educators, some wanted supplement them, and some wanted to replace them all together.  I didn't do any kind of survey, but three quarters of the people at the conference seemed to be on the education track.  Next most prevalent was talk about SVP itself, how to get the message out, how to grow it, and how to increase effectiveness.   Finally, there was a fair amount of discussion about the way many organizations pursue their missions and at the same time work together towards a common goal -- otherwise know as collective impact.

My favorite line was from Matt Flannery, Founder of Kiva when he said that he learned more on the first day after he decided to start Kiva than he did in the entire year he spent writing the business plan.  Imagine how much more we could have done if we started a year earlier. (not a direct quote, but more or less)

Dan Pallotta did a great job presenting his ideas about how philanthropy is broken in our country.  As with many great speakers he had a way of boiling down big thoughts into easy to remember sentences.  Here are a few of my favorites:

  • If we DON'T want to solve problems, we have a system that works remarkably well.
  • Non profits is where we do our penance for making money.
  • Never underestimate the ability of humans to not think about something.
  • It took us 50 years to put wheels on suitcases.
Here are a few other items from my notes:
  • Read "Charity Case" by Dan Pallotta
  • Look into the National Student Clearinghouse for effectiveness data
  • Teachers are surprised and inspired to change when they see the effectiveness data
  • All schools can track student performance and all schools say they cannot
  • Schools hate data because they have been shamed by it (over and over)
  • Check out HomeKeeper and the involvement of Salesforce.com
  • Check out The Learning Accelerator and Scott Ellis and Innosite.

It was a great event.  I will go again next year without a doubt.