1. Start by getting a handle on the soul of philanthropy, as well as the work of philanthropy. Read the key works, for example:
- Mark Constantine’s Wit and Wisdom: Unleashing the Philanthropic Imagination;
- Joel Fleishman’s book, The Foundation: A Great American Secret;
- Harvard Business Review articles on strategy written by Mark Kramer, Michael Porter, and others.
2. Get some exposure, if you don’t already have it (and if you do, don’t let it lapse…) to non-profits and the pressure they live under every day. Know the basic mechanics of good governance, in a non-profit context, and the essentials of non-profit finance.
3. Subscribe to and read the Harvard Business Review, for ideas and trends that start in the corporate arena but are or will be important to social change in the nonprofit and philanthropic world.
4. Go to meetings where you will be exposed to different kinds of foundations – meetings of regional associations, the Council on Foundations, affinity groups, local funder’s networks – where you will be exposed to the diversity of the field.
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