Giving New Thought to Funding: Philanthropic Executive Discusses Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking
Reed-Woodard, Marcia A., Black Enterprise
WITH THE U.S. IN THE THROES OF A national recession, demands for social services have quickly outpaced available resources. Nonprofit requests for funding have increased, and funders are struggling with selecting which organizations receive grants.
"The selection process is critical to the Venture Philanthropy Partners funding model," says Carol Thompson Cole, president and CEO of VPP, a Washington, D.C.,-based charitable investment organization that supports nonprofits that serve indigent children and their families. Cole describes her organization's strategic approach to decision making as part investigative, part instinctive, and wholly unbiased. She says this method maximizes her organization's philanthropic investment in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
"It's clear that how we decide on our investment partners is as important as who we actually choose," she adds.
Compelled to continually refine the VPP selection process, Cole takes ideas from Malcolm Gladwell's best-seller, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (Back Bay Books; $15.99), to augment her team's approach and perfect their instinctual sense. Gladwell made several procedural distinctions:
Appreciate "automatic instantaneous thinking,"
Gladwell maintains that there can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis. He encourages readers to respect the possibility of knowing something without knowing how or why they know it. …