Donors feel this “aspiration gap” in their philanthropy. For the last 16 years, The Bridgespan Group has counseled more than 50 of the world’s most generous and ambitious philanthropists. Many have said some version of “I can’t find enough opportunities to put large amounts of my money to work on the issues I really want to change.” They’ve spent years searching for such defining opportunities; they’re deeply frustrated; and they’re worried that they’re not making nearly the difference they could. Is their frustration warranted? Would more big bets really make a big difference? If the answer is “Yes” to both questions, then what are the barriers holding donors back, and how might those barriers be defeated? This article reviews: why their is such a large “aspriation gap”, deal making challenges, finding big-bet ready organizations, how to land a big bet, and Bridgespan’s big bet methodology.
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William Foster, Gail Perreault, Alison Powell, Chris Addy
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