In the business sector, the most exciting, profitable enterprises come from revolution, not evolution. Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs are hailed as geniuses not because they came up through the corporate ranks, tweaking popular products, but because they came out of nowhere with ideas and products unlike any the world had seen before. When they started out, they might not have had the size and track records of giants like IBM, but these entrepreneurs had a key differential that fueled their success: vision.

Philanthropy, like the tech industry circa 1980, is also ripe for innovative “disruption.” Given the immense problems challenging the world—environmental degradation, ethnic and religious conflict, hunger, disease, and poverty—there is an urgent need for vision. We need new philanthropic approaches adapted to today’s realities—the kinds of powerful, revolutionary ideas that would never come out of the IBMs of philanthropy.

Nonetheless, entrepreneurial individuals often leave their business hats at the door when engaging in their charitable giving. They don’t apply the same principles to their philanthropy that made them successful in their business lives. Instead, many opt for the conventional way of doing philanthropy: Solicit applications from as many nonprofits as you can afford to fund, and give a grant to whomever writes the best proposal. If you happen to fund a nonprofit that runs a successful project, then you are successful as a funder. If not, cross your fingers and try again.

To effect real and significant change, it takes more than just good intentions—it takes vision and talent. If you let the same qualities that made you successful in your professional life inform your philanthropy, you can accelerate progress where it’s been stalled for decades.

Whether you want to prevent drug addiction in your community or find a cure for a rare disease that’s affected a family member, taking an entrepreneurial approach can really move the needle. And you don’t have to have Bill Gates’ resources to do it.

If you follow all of these steps, you’ll have a clear idea of the scope of your chosen problem and its dimensions. You’ll know what’s been tried, what’s known and what’s unknown. You’ll have taken inventory of your resources and considered the pros and cons of all the conceivable approaches to solving your dilemma. You’ll have invited critics to punch holes in your strategy, come up with a road-tested plan and found the best people to carry out your agenda. In sum, you’re ready to act like an entrepreneur and leverage your strengths to drive change.