Are you a leader? How do you lead? Just as there are steps to being a proper manager or leader in any other area of expertise, the same is the case for philanthropic leadership.
Everyone that has the desire to help is not exactly cut out to be a leader in advocacy or philanthropy, especially when that philanthropy is a massive organization.
Passion and so forth is needed but there are plenty of other skills that will increase the likeliness that any one person can be an influential philanthropic leader. Organizational decisiveness ought to be on the list of skills to have and to perfect.
Another mindset to start out with is: there is never a bad time to be of service, but there are inappropriate ways of servicing. Not every situation is handled similarly and therefore every situation must be handled with high discretion regardless of the level of experience of the leader.
Connect to those that you are servicing no matter how large or small the organization, event, fundraiser or service may be. Specifically for large organizations, it is easy to become just another untrustworthy business-like organization without real concerns and goals geared explicitly toward the community.
Maintaining the understanding of organizational goals among all stakeholders is fundamentally imperative. Creating the relevance of the mission in every effort through the portrayal of a relatable human voice is paramount in keeping people invested in all ways.
Remember: the customer is always right! Who is your customer? Those in need are the customers so in essence, everyone can be a customer. However, a good philanthropic leader targets the primary population being affected by the service as the group of concern.
At the risk of making philanthropy sound like a business, further business metaphors will be avoided but you get the point. Make the people AND the situations you encounter matter.
Also, and maybe more importantly, every good philanthropic leader remembers self as well. No one is Superman or Wonder Woman and sorry to say, there is no saving the world with the swipe of a magic wand.
Remember self in the midst of all of the philanthropy. Take your time, remain patient and recognize your original passion when things seem insurmountable. If all else fails, step away from it for a little while, regroup and come back to it.
Good ole elementary school lessons can be applied anywhere… Who knew?