Kat Rosqueta: When I speak, I’ll ask people “How many of you are interested in low-impact philanthropy?” No one. Who doesn’t want impact? For many, high impact or just impact is almost always understood as a great thing.
At CHIP, high-impact philanthropy is a practice that means something very specific. First, it is focused on social impact, social change, public good. I’m using those terms interchangeably, but if you think of philanthropy as operating at the intersection of private values and resources and the public good, high-impact philanthropy is focused on the public good part of it.
Second, it is intentionally trying to use and build off of the evidence that already exists in whatever area you care about. If you think of ensuring housing, food, and financial security for all; improving health; advancing gender equity; ensuring a healthier and more sustainable planet, those are things that lots of smart people and lots of organizations have been working to achieve for a very long time.
If you want to make progress, you have to build on all those lessons learned; otherwise you risk making the same mistakes everybody has had, or inadvertently doing harm.
Third is always linking considerations of impact and costs. Each of us, whether we have $5 or $1 billion, needs to consider how much good we could do with the resources we have? And if an innovation is just creating the same change at the same or higher cost than an existing solution, let’s let that one go.
Fourth is, if it were easy to make sure no one was hungry on this planet, we would already have solved the problem. The only way to make progress is to measure, manage, learn, and course-correct. You have to have a posture of learning toward all of this, and that’s why the more you practice, the better you get.