Exponent Philanthropy

Philanthropy Lessons: How Do You Capture Hope?

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2 Comments On Philanthropy Lessons: How Do You Capture Hope?

  1. This is such a great question. Honestly, I’m not sure how you capture hope. Should we even try to hope capture hope? Or is hope even the goal? If real hope is created, shouldn’t that hope lead to a positive and tangible outcome down the line? And, if that’s the case, is that measureable outcome something a nonprofit could even plausibly track? I mean, hope is great, but is hope the endpoint?

    On the other hand, I believe that there are a number of outcomes that either cannot be measured at all or can be measured but cannot be done so effectively. “Resiliency” is one of those topics whose importance researchers are finding out about more and more these days. While resiliency is not impossible to measure, it’s difficult. Should we not measure it then? By asking grantees to approximate the resiliency they build within the populations they serve, are we just forcing them to waste their time?

    If someone forced me to answer this “capturing hope” question, I think I’d say that we’d need to review an organization’s theory of change. If hope is a key ingredient in leading towards a plausible and tangible set of outcomes or even grander vision, then I’d be okay with making a grant to that organization. If, however, the management team could not explain its hypothesis for how hope fits into the goals they ultimately aim to achieve, I’d be less likely to make a grant to that organization.

    All that said, I’m really interested in what others have to say on this topic.

  2. “How do you measure hope” is certainly an interesting question to ponder. It also makes me think about the question that may precede it –“how do you deliver hope?” I now find myself thinking about whether or not, or how much, hope do I deliver or offer when making a grant. Isn’t that part of our role as funders?