Giving 2.0, part 7

Giving2.0cover

Cover of Giving 2.0

Posted by Eileen Ellsworth

This is the seventh and final post in a series reviewing the book “Giving 2.0” by Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen (Great Giving LLC, 2012)

Beyond the collective giving models, there is yet another trick in the bag of involved donors – the unique ability of philanthropists to advocate for change and to influence public policy.

Philanthropy itself can only go so far to address complex social issues. The government, business, civic, and philanthropic sectors all have a role to play. Governments are often the largest single funders of a cause. Their funding decisions, legislative power and impact on the economy can directly shape action and reframe debates. So why limit your activism to philanthropy? If you have committed to a cause and grown to understand the forces that shape it, you can become an advocate for positive change.

The battle here is on the field of ideas, and some nonprofits are well poised for the fight. The Twenty-First Century Foundation, for example, has several advocacy programs that promote health, education and engaged fatherhood in the African American community. In fact there are hundreds of nonprofits who have as their primary mission the goal of advocating for social change.

This amazingly rich and substantive book is a wonderful resource for today’s donors. Giving 2.0 is a primer on how to use everything you’ve got – your capacity, connections, influence, energy, and assets – to effect change in the social sector.  Arrillaga-Andreessen inspires us all to engage in innovative thinking, continuous learning, collective giving, outcome measuring, and cross sector advocacy to make a difference. She has shared every lesson learned about effective philanthropy over the course of 15 years, and we would all be wise to listen.

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