Our third image of philanthropy is the idea that ‘philanthropy is like acupuncture’. This has been put forward by a couple of authors to convey the importance of appropriate skills and knowledge in philanthropy:

For example, Hakan Altinay, while being a senior fellow for global economy and development at the Brookings Institution, argued: ‘It’s not about the size of the needle but where you put it to have the biggest impact.’

This sentiment was picked up in 2015 by Stephen Heintz, President of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. In his President’s Message, he wrote: ‘Philanthropy is like acupuncture: we only have a handful of tiny needles—the question is where to insert them in order to trigger larger systemic change.’

Hakan Altinay, cited by Louise Hallman, Alliance Magazine, 3rd January 2013, https://www.alliancemagazine.org/blog/philanthropy-as-acupuncture-its-all-about-where-you-put-the-needle/

President’s Message 2015, https://www.rbf.org/about/2015-annual-review


Drawing on some of the findings from our ‘Images of Philanthropy’ Initiative, each entry in this accompanying blog series introduces one image that has been put forward in an academic or non-academic context to depict or characterise an aspect of philanthropy in its different forms and expressions.

For further information about the ‘Images of Philanthropy’ Initiative, please contact Dr Tobias Jung.