The 7 Characteristics of Phileadthropists

phi-lead’thro-pist n. – an unusually effective leader in the field of philanthropy.

In my last blog entry I wrote about the integration of leadership and philanthropy, accenting several studies which suggested characteristics of effective leaders.  Based on those characteristics, I invite you to think with me about the traits that characterize phileadthropists – those effective leaders in the world of philanthropy.

From my experience, phileadthropists evidence:

  1. Integrity – the alignment of spoken values and behavior.  Doing what we say and saying what we do.
  2. Adaptive Agility – the ability to scan donors and situations and envision how what is happening now will impact the future and to change course when needed;
  3. Cross-Cultural Savvy – the ability to see and appreciate multiple donor perspectives, especially political, religious, and cultural differences;
  4. Vision – the ability to  inspire, involve, and gain consensus around organizational direction and goals;
  5. Professional Astuteness – ambitiousness, but moreso for the organization and less for self.
  6. Focus – an unusual ability to determine and act upon those issues which will produce the biggest benefit for the organization;
  7. A Habit of Curiosity – a disposition which regularly asks questions with the desire to learn more about people and our world.

Think about the phileadthropists you know – those super successful advancement professionals.  How many of these 7 characteristics do they evidence?  My bet is many.  In my experience, advancement professionals who evidence these characteristics can not help but be effective.   The person embodying these 7 characteristics should be leading your development office.



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