"Philanthropy is ripe for democratization." According to Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, the days of the stereotypical, wealthy, philanthropist are over. In her new book Giving 2.0: Transform Your Giving and Our World, Laura describes the new philanthropist and the new landscape of philanthropy. The term philanthropist is no longer limited to individuals with wealth; in Giving 2.0, a philanthropist is anyone who has generosity. Be it the willingness to give time, expertise, passion, compassion, or wealth, anyone can be a philanthropist. The premise of the book is that it's not how much you give, but how you give.
I had the pleasure to attend a talk with Laura hosted by Hewlett-Packard Co. (No. 12 of the "Top Corporate Philanthropists in the Greater Bay Area, San Francisco Business Times: 2012 Book of Lists ). Laura's talk centered around three transformative ideas for philanthropy that she outlines in her book. Philanthropy is moving from:
- Reactive to Proactive - The majority of giving is in response, or reactive to, the ask of another person; however, Laura sees giving as more effective when it is proactive. The giver should decide on worthy causes and issues through research and evaluation.
- Sympathetic to Strategic - A lot of charity is the result of giving without any expected return; however, most people perform a lot of research and due diligence before making an investment in something else, be it stock or real estate. Why don't we perform the same level of research when it comes to giving?
- Isolated to Collaborative - In moving from an isolated model of giving to one of collaboration, the giver employs their networks to self-identify with their causes. Rather than making silent charitable contributions in a vacuum, the giver can mobilize a network of like-minded individuals to create change.
These concepts are organized into a "Giving 2.0 Roadmap." These ideas have validity, especially the last one about collaboration. If networks have any power at all, it is the ability to connect like-minded individuals to mobilize efforts quickly.
Laura's book, Giving 2.0: Transform Your Giving and Our World, is available for patron use in our reference library.