Key Points

What are the roadblocks that limit reflective practice in the field of philanthropy? Between the desire to move the needle on social change and the pressure to be productive, philanthropy as a field is understandably driven to focus on doing and resistant to taking time to reflect on practice. This article is designed to help foundations encourage leadership and staff to put their expertise into play as a learning strategy.

This article defines reflective practice and traces roots and research that can inform its use. It also reports on interviews with philanthropy practitioners about how they use various reflective practice methods to navigate high-stakes situations.

In an examination of some of the barriers to learning on the job in philanthropy, this article also suggests some activities that might build a more receptive environment for reflective practice for individuals, groups, and organizations.

Open Access