Strategic philanthropy is the practice of applying long term thinking and professional skills and planning to grantmaking.
Inspirasia is built on our vision of business & philanthropy, hand in hand.

We draw on decades of collective experience and success in international finance, law, marketing, design, and management to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of our grants.
What is a Strategic Philanthropy?

Any successful business owner, executive, or investor will tell you: success cannot be bought. Lasting success, in business or philanthropy, takes more than money.

Strategic philanthropists apply the same rigor, discipline, and knowledge of how to run an effective organization that brings so much success in a highly profitable professional life, to the goals of philanthropy.

Strategic philanthropy applies the enormous bodies of management, finance, marketing, design, and operations knowledge in the world – developed and refined by some of the world’s finest minds and educational institutions – to philanthropic work, in order to generate and scale social change as effectively and efficiently as a successful company generates profit and expands its business.

That’s why Inspirasia’s philanthropy has evolved over the years into our signature “more than money” approach that invests long term cash grants alongside training and expert support to use that hard earned cash for maximum impact and maximum inspiration.

We look for talented leaders, select carefully, and are unafraid to fund unloved but high return investments such as additional talent, staff training, planning, infrastructure and even fundraising.

We look for connections and mentorship that can leverage the power of our grant funding and help our non-profit partners generate the greatest and most lasting impact from Inspirasia cash grant funding. Perhaps most importantly, we invest in our partners’ staff both financially and with skills training, because a program or product is only as good as the people that run it.

This is one key feature that sets Inspirasia apart: we believe what non-profits in Asia lack most is expertise and best practice to most effectively manage and deploy the money they do have to create social change.

The resources, reports, and readings below are some of our favorites for defining and debating the practice of strategic philanthropy. We hope you enjoy them.

Open debate and discussion of these ideas is always welcome at Inspirasia Foundation. Email us directly at info@inspirasia.org to start a conversation.

Business and Philanthropy

Since its first days, Inspirasia has worked together with businesses to make the world a better place. Inspirasia inspires businesses to give, give more, and give smart by taking impact as seriously as profit, with efficiency and professionalism at our core. Like Inspirasia and its supporters, our approach to giving is an alloy of business and philanthropy - a hard head and an open heart.

Any successful business owner, executive or investor will tell you: success cannot be bought. Lasting success, in business or philanthropy, takes more than money. That’s why our philanthropy has evolved over the years into our signature “more than money” approach that invests long term cash grants alongside training and expert support to use that hard earned cash for maximum impact and maximum inspiration. We look for talented leaders, select carefully, and are unafraid to fund unloved but high return investments such as additional talent, staff training, planning, infrastructure and even fundraising.

Inspirasia is built on the principle of better business through philanthropy, and better philanthropy through business. Business and philanthropy, hand in hand has vast, unexplored potential. Our job at Inspirasia is to make grants and form partnerships to explore that potential.

Leaders

Asian Venture Philanthropy Network | Big Bang Philanthropy | Bridgespan Group | European Venture Philanthropy Association | GiveWell | Stanford Social Innovation Review |
The Philanthropy Workshop, at the Institute for Philanthropy

Foundations

Ashoka: Innovators for the Public | Dasra | Echoing Green | Mulago Foundation | Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship

Enterprise

Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs | The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) | Shujog

RECOMMENDED READING

Monitor Inclusive Markets | Emerging Markets, Emerging Models
March 2009
“Emerging Markets, Emerging Models,” from Monitor Group is a first-of-its-kind report analyzing the actual behaviors, economics, and business models of successful “market-based solutions”--financially-sustainable enterprises that address challenges of global poverty. Compiled in an effort to use fact-based research to move beyond stereotypes, anecdotes, and common assumptions about the potential of market-based solutions, Monitor’s findings highlight actual data from global working models.
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Stanford Social Innovation Review | The Non Profit Starvation Cycle
Fall 2009
A vicious cycle is leaving nonprofits so hungry for decent infrastructure that they can barely function as organizations—let alone serve their beneficiaries. The cycle starts with funders’ unrealistic expectations about how much running a nonprofit costs, and results in nonprofits’ misrepresenting their costs while skimping on vital systems—acts that feed funders’ skewed beliefs. To break the nonprofit starvation cycle, funders must take the lead.
Read More

JP Morgan | Impact Investing: An Emerging Asset Class
November 2010
Impact investment, which is intended to create positive social or environmental impact beyond financial return, constitutes a new asset class, according to a report by J.P. Morgan and the Rockefeller Foundation. Impact investments are typically made in private markets by providing debt or equity to mission-driven businesses. Impact investing has gained traction among a wide range of investors, including large-scale financial institutions, pension funds, family offices, private wealth managers, foundations, individuals, commercial banks, and development finance institutions.


TED Talks | Dan Pallotta: The way we think about charity is dead wrong
March 2013
Activist and fundraiser Dan Pallotta calls out the double standard that drives our broken relationship to charities. Too many nonprofits, he says, are rewarded for how little they spend -- not for what they get done. Instead of equating frugality with morality, he asks us to start rewarding charities for their big goals and big accomplishments (even if that comes with big expenses). In this bold talk, he says: Let's change the way we think about changing the world.
Read More

Mulago Foundation | Go Big Or Go Home: Investing in Scalable Solutions
As a very small operation, we had to find a simple and systematic way to evaluate for scalability. We’ve built our investment approach around our friend Martin Fisher’s idea that scalable solutions have four critical characteristics: they have 1) real impact and are 2) cost-effective, 3) sustainable, and 4) replicable.