Inoculation, inspiration, and Innovation
Many of us (including me) are thrilled the end of 2020 is quickly approaching. As I reflect on the pandemic’s path which redefined normal life a mere nine months ago, I am reminded of the indelible shock I felt after September 11, 2011. Once again, we are forever changed as externalities (in this case the pandemic) leave behind a path of redefined relationships, priorities, and reality. Rather than be mired in the uncertainty of the new normal, let us commit to the rejuvenation of a hopeful tomorrow — one filled with physical healing, spiritual inspiration, and the commitment to be the catalyst of innovative change.
Well known author and Deloitte futurist, John Hagel, suggests that we are in the early stages of a Big Shift that will require a fundamental transformation of our global economy; where institutions will be incented to scale the edges rather than transform the core. He suggests that when we become catalysts for change towards an inspirational future, we can put uncertainty and fear behind.
In that spirit, I encourage us all to become powerful change catalysts; to take conventional culture, thought and standards to a new dimension; to think differently about the power of social capital beyond donations; and to consider financial return beyond our own capital gains. After all, true community change is change that positively impacts us all equally.
This holiday season, I send my deep gratitude to all of Mission Throttle’s partners, both for-profit and for-impact organizations, led by catalytic change makers who believe in a better tomorrow, and for families and neighbors who are cherished by our global community. I wish you the courage to create transformational change in your life, for those you love, and for those you don’t yet know.
To the future…together!
Phillip Wm. Fisher
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to wreak havoc on our social agencies, we need to think differently about how to “capitalize” these organizations. Even in a strong economy, our 2.3 million 501(c)(3)s in the U.S. struggle to raise sufficient social capital to sustain and scale their impact. The pandemic has drastically adjusted our perception of normal and creates fertile ground for thinking differently about sustaining mission-driven organizations focused on supporting those in-need. To quote Einstein, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Mission Throttle believes that our country needs to adopt a more capitalistic culture embracing social justice with an equity lens when caring for those less fortunate. In a PC (post-COVID) world, we need to use this enlightened awareness to lead culture reform for innovative social capital tools like Impact Investing. If we revert to our BC (before-COVID) solutions, we will have jeopardized our chance to act into a new way of thinking about what our social impact agencies need to survive and thrive.
Giving USA estimates the total amount of contributions to impact organizations approximated $427 Billion in 2018. Mission Throttle estimates that the annual capital required to solve our country’s social needs exceeds $3 Trillion. This delta between sources and uses we call The Philanthropic Gap. As important as donative capital is, it is but a small fraction of the capital needed to properly support those in need. We need to challenge donors to go beyond check writing, towards dedicating a small percentage of their net worth to invest in equitable social change.
With the COVID-19 pandemic comes the reality that many of our social impact agencies will not survive the crisis. Emergency campaigns only add to the fatigue donors have by continually funding structural deficits.There will be consolidation, mergers, and bankruptcy of fiscally vulnerable agencies. Most social organizations focus solely on donative capital to sustain themselves. Although you may argue that there are too many providers already, social impact agencies continue to resist working together in order to protect their donor relationships; while the demand for life-saving services is exploding. If we are going to change the culture of philanthropic capital, we need to expand and disrupt conventional thinking and embrace sustainable sources of funding.
In capitalism, enterprises with profit motivated culture, sound best practices and free cash flow are creating scale and profitability. They understand how to manage risk and lever capital. Acquisitions, mergers and sales are commonplace. Collaboration and partnerships are encouraged to manage efficiently, effectively, and strive for unique differentiators. This culture must bleed over into philanthropy for our sector to be sustainable and scale its impact.
You may be asking, what can I do to lead forward? Learn more about Impact Investing and become an advocate for this fast-growing field. In board rooms, advocate for innovative forms of capital as a supplement to contributed income. Finally, as the author John Hagel suggests, we must become a catalyst for change towards hope, excitement and inspiration. If we stay frozen in uncertainty and fear, we will become irrelevant over time. Let’s adopt opportunity-based narrative as our call for action. Your suggestions are welcome!
In our constant attempt to advance the impact investing field, Mission Throttle has sponsored a high-level research piece on the differences between US and Israel laws. Our deep appreciation to co-collaborators, Jennifer Oertel (Jaffelaw in Southfield, Michigan), Zvi Nixon and Leora KestenRoth, (E. Landau Law Offices in Jerusalem, Israel). We hope this research provides you meaningful insights to the various legal requirements of Impact Investing and accelerates adoption.
Dear Partners and Colleagues:
When I launched Mission Throttle in 2009, I set out to accelerate community benefit through philanthropic capital, innovation and culture change. In the decade since the company’s formation, Mission Throttle has evolved from a startup, dedicated to supporting innovative fundraising tools and impact investing, to that and more. In 2013, Susan Gordon joined Mission Throttle to grow the advisory practice from scratch, recruiting a group of talented consultants, intending to validate the strategic service offering to promote positive change in the foundation and mission-driven communities. Originally, we imagined Advisory would add to the investable pipeline for impact investments into social enterprises. In the end, the team engaged with over 40 mission-driven organizations to create sustainability, innovation, earned revenue and ultimately, culture change.
Over the past five years, Advisory has provided exemplary outcomes for dozens of foundation, philanthropic and mission-driven organizations. However, we continue to experience the market dissonance between the critical need for capacity building support, and the limited resources available to sustain these services. Over the past few months, we continue to reflect on this reality.
We concluded the time has come for Mission Throttle to return to its roots, while celebrating Susan and our team’s success. As a result, as of June 30, the Advisory practice, under Susan’s supervision, will spin-off from Mission Throttle to allow her the capacity to thoughtfully consider future next steps.Mission Throttle, under my direction, will continue to search for platforms, tools and solutions to accelerate philanthropic innovation and the impact investing ecosystem going forward. We hope to engage with you going forward.
I am amazed at what our team has achieved as evidenced in our 2018 Impact Report. The cultural impact on our clients, and consequently the community, has set a high bar for others working to bring sustainability to social impact organizations. Over the past five years, 100% of Advisory clients responding to a post-engagement survey rated the quality of work High/Very High Quality and 90% responded that they were Very Likely/Extremely Likely to recommend Advisory to a friend or colleague. Furthermore, as a result of their work:
- 79% of clients realized a positive culture change in their organization
- 84% of clients identified cost savings
- 76% of clients implemented cost savings or scaled effective programs/products
- 96% of clients identified earned revenue opportunities
I honor and celebrate Advisory‘s impact and wish these pioneering geniuses great success. Please feel free to contact Susan at sgordon@strategicgrowthgrp.
To the future…together!
Phillip Wm. Fisher
Founder, Mission Throttle
Mission Throttle’s history reflects a series of collaborations that merge business solutions and philanthropic values to scale social impact for those in need. We know great efforts are required to effectively address our most pressing social issues and we feel truly privileged to serve our clients, and in turn, communities across the Midwest.
Though 2019 is well underway, we are mindful to reflect on the last year and to thank our clients, partners and friends who made our work possible. Without you, we couldn’t have achieved these accomplishments. We hope you’ll continue with us on our journey as we move forward. Our very best wishes to you in this coming year.
The Mission Throttle Team
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