Last week, I was honored to have a mention in an article at the Stanford Social Innovation Review. In this article, The Disruption for Good, the author looks at how “rapid advances in technology are changing philanthropy in fundamental ways—making it potentially more rational, effective, collaborative, transparent, and democratic.” We are mentioned as one of those leveraging technology to create communities of people joined by a common cause. We are a disruption for good! But you already knew that didn’t you?
Let’s set aside how cool it is to be mentioned in an article in this prestigious publication (and it is really, really cool!). I’m especially honored because the author, Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, has been fundamental to my own development as a philanthropist.
I picked up her book Giving 2.0 as I was starting to work on our giving circles. I appreciated this book immediately for its thoughtful approach to philanthropy. Often times in this type of genre, there are prescriptions for the right way to give and the right kind of charities to support. But from the beginning, she asked questions and proposed scenarios designed to get the reader to think deeply about what they have to give, the kind of causes they want to support, and how to choose charities.
As she wisely notes, “Online ratings systems are a starting point rather than a comprehensive solution to philanthropic due diligence”, and as I developed our own strategy for due diligence, her insights guided me. The “Charting A Course” chapter, lists 50 questions to ask a nonprofit before making a donation. These questions along with her “Warning Signs” raised my awareness of the intricacies of evaluating and choosing the non-profits that meet our own goals.
This book is packed with useful information. In fact, it might have too much information, so when she put together an online course, I eagerly signed up. I was not disappointed. The format of the course allowed her to organize the material in Giving 2.0 into lessons that greatly expanded their content and usefulness. Plus, she introduced a new framework for engaging philanthropy called Reflect, Assess, Decide, Act, Reflect. (R.A.D.A.R.).
The common thread throughout her book and her online course is her emphasis that philanthropy is a deeply personal effort that evolves as the giver becomes more experienced and more connected with what their giving means for them. Mistakes will be made. Lessons will be learned. Priorities will change. Fortunately for us, she shares her own lessons and processes in the hope that we can start our own philanthropic journeys a little more thoughtfully and a lot more effectively.
So here is a belated thank you to Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen for her wonderful advice and timely thank you for mentioning us in her recent article!