You may have heard of the term “servant leadership.” This blog focuses on servant leadership and its importance in our personal philanthropy. For those not familiar with the term, let me first explain a little bit about what it is.
Servant leadership is all about serving others before yourself. It is about serving others so they may each have the chance to achieve their dreams, gain purpose and meaning in their life; and it also helps them understand the “why” they get up in the morning. Servant leadership is about giving life to others. It is about inspiring them and helping them realize their personal gifts for giving. Then they are motivated to take those gifts and use them to better something in the world as well as the lives of their families.
Servant leadership is about recognizing the diversity and uniqueness of each individual. And, in turn, each individual’s life story shapes him or her into a unique individual with specific traits and passions, which leads to purpose.
Appreciative Donor Education Process
As you may recall, in a previous blog I shared a personal giving process that connects philanthropic conversations with a roadmap for personal giving. The process is illustrated in the diagram to the right.
Originally, in the referenced blog it was named the Personal Philanthropic Giving Process. I have renamed it the Appreciative Donor Education Process.
The reason for this renaming is that it more clearly reflects the life-giving, strengths-based approach to guiding individual donors to recognize and unleash their own gifts for giving. In addition, it was renamed to reflect its academic evolution and application of the appreciative inquiry process. This process has been applied to other disciplines such as Appreciative Advising for higher education. Several colleges and universities have embraced Appreciative Advising as a successful model.
Hence the Appreciative Donor Education Process is the iterative adaptation of the appreciative inquiry process for the philanthropic sector. More specifically it serves to provide individual donors with the roadmap for smart, effective, and impactful giving to both family and philanthropic causes. It encompasses the iteration of unleashing the life-giving, one-of-a-kind strengths of each individual based on their own life’s journey.
I am sure your life is terribly busy. And you may not even recognize your own strengths and gifts that you have developed throughout your life’s journey—whether that be through your education, professional experiences, skill sets, natural abilities, or specific life events or people you have meet along the way. We do in fact each have strengths and gifts for giving even though we are busy living day to day. In these times of the Covid-19 pandemic, so many people are struggling just to survive, which presents its own set of challenges. While it is in our DNA to give to others --consistent with Maslow's hierarchy of needs—attention is first paid to our personal, basic physical needs and emotional needs. For many, those are the most important critical needs at this time. For those that are fortunate enough to be in a situation where they are indeed assessing how to make a difference in this world at this time, they may not understand or recognize the potential of their own gifts.
That is why I developed the Appreciative Donor Education Process…to provide a roadmap to follow as people learn to unleash the vast giving potential that lies within. The Appreciative Donor Education Process is a tool to help guide each individual to his or her own unique purpose while leveraging their personal gifts for giving to family, neighbors, the community, and beyond.
Why is Servant Leadership so relevant to the Appreciative Donor Education Process?
So, what about servant leadership and the Appreciative Donor Education Process? They are a natural fit in that the importance of servant leadership cannot be overstated as a means of guiding, facilitating, and developing each individual's inherent potential and unleashing that potential to benefit the family, the community, and those passions and causes that are important to them. We now have the process to do just that in terms of the Appreciative Donor Education Process.
If you have ever experienced servant leadership—either as a participant or a recipient—then you understand the importance of unleashing this great, untapped potential in each individual to give to others. This push and unleashing can create a new movement that is based on each individual’s unique gifts, passions, and strengths which will result in positive change. I’ll call this movement “Donor Philanthropy” —and as Steven Jobs has said—it’s time to think different and start at the grassroots donor level. It is more important now than ever during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On a related note, stay tuned for upcoming blogs to learn more about Donor Philanthropy! You also may want to check out and subscribe to our new YouTube channel which will be updated with short videos to learn how to be a better giver of self to Family and charity. After all, we at Aspire to Give ® want to do all we can to help you make a difference in this world.
Let's do some good! - Greg.
Up Next:Taking a Closer Look at Donor Philanthropy