Pew Leader on Outsourcing in Philanthropy
In an interesting story in the Wall Street Journal last week, Rebecca Rimel, who serves as the head of the Pew Charitable Trusts, suggests that an outsourcing mentality is part of the reason why her institution has begun attracting significant social capital. From the WSJ:
In the past three years, a diverse group of about 90 corporations, foundations and individuals have given the Pew about $110 million for programs. Ms. Rimel thinks this "smart outsourcing" is one way philanthropy will evolve; it saves on the creation of infrastructure and minimizes the learning curve inherent in giving away money fruitfully.
You will recall that Pew transformed itself from a grant-giving foundation to a public charity in order to attract new resources such as these. If this article is any indication, that move was the right one. I am 100% in agreement that "smart outsourcing" is one way philanthropy will evolve; as well as her assertion that it saves on the creation of infrastructure and minimizes the learning curve inherent in giving away money fruitfully. The level of expertise required to make good decisions in this market is expensive to create.
The interesting question is whether, over time, outsourcing in philanthropy will create the magnitude of cost savings experienced in other industries. Furthermore, could outsourcing ignite productivity increases in our industry the way it has in others?