Danielle Walker Palmour considers the merits of mission-centric change …
Reflecting on the nature of organisations that can best build change, it struck me how – like many- we can be inclined to distraction by our own processes rather than the change we want to see happen. And at times let our attention stray – not to how we make our money but rather what we give to.
I’d like to sow the seed that what is needed to bring about change in our society are more explicitly mission-centric, values-driven organisations. Strangely, I have found that charities, and in particularly foundations, are not necessarily exemplars of mission-centric organisations.
True, we must be willing to start with ourselves. And consider, often in deep organisational terms, how the mission values and behaviours within our own organisation manifest themselves and relate to our social purpose.
What we do, of course, relates to the behaviours, choices and resources of others, shaped by the fundamental principles of transparency and culture of disclosure combined with a recognition that we are we operate in a common ecosystem, not as discrete organisms. And what we value naturally drives what we pay attention to, as Rob Lake suggested in his recent blog Values to value: the trajectory of materiality
As Foundations – particularly those from a Quaker heritage – we often urge those we support to speak truth to power, yet many of us have poor mechanisms to get feedback from or the voices of grant-holders, beneficiaries and other stakeholders.
The implications of values, operations and action was brought home to me by the recent launch of a report that I attended – What a Difference a Faith Makes – by New Philanthropy Capital. It was a big and well attended launch and the report itself made a distinction between historically faith-based organisations, organisations whose mission is informed by faith but it is not evident in its operations, and those that deliver their mission through faith-based methods, at a church hall or mosque.
It begged the question – which are we? Is it clear what our values are from the way we do our business or are fairness, transparency and equality artefacts of our heritage?