High Touch Trumps High Tech

High Touch Trumps High Tech

PSW News
Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bob Reid, Executive Director
J. F Maddox Foundation, Hobbs, New Mexico

In a high-tech world, I think it’s important for grant makers to consider the value of a high touch association like Philanthropy Southwest not just for their own work, but for the field as a whole.

While there is value in a wide array of information from differing sources, the insights I have gained and lessons learned by personally connecting with others in the field have by far been the most valuable to me. Philanthropy Southwest is a very rich resource in this regard. They are unparalleled in terms of providing networking opportunities and in offering personalized connections. Time and again they helped our foundation avoid reinventing the wheel by connecting us with just the right people to learn and think through effective approaches to our work.

I worry, though, that the increasingly autonomous nature of philanthropy encourages a disconnectedness that prevents us from learning from others. We need to protect against this. If our grant making isn’t well informed, if our efforts aren’t as effective as possible, and if we aren’t strongly connected as a field, we invite more questions and the possibility of less autonomy. By working together, we have a better chance to ensure that our philanthropy isn’t just window dressing, but has rigor and the ability to effect real change.

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