Giving 2.0This is the first post reviewing the book “Giving 2.0“ by Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen (Great Giving LLC, 2012)

Drawing on lessons from her own extensive experience and from the inspiration of her mother’s life, Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, the author of “Giving 2.0: Transform Your Giving and Our World”, has written a very personal manual on how to give well.  After fifteen years of hands on philanthropy, Arrillaga-Andreessen has discovered one clear, consistent truth:  Passion isn’t enough.  Feeling good in the moment isn’t enough.  Personal philanthropy will evolve from reactive to proactive only when knowledge, research, goals and sound strategy form the backbone of your giving.

She first stepped into the philanthropic world at the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (SV2) where she helped other philanthropists connect and learn from each other.  Next, she joined the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) and began to formally study “strategic philanthropy” through foundations, venture philanthropy groups, corporations, global social investing, and social innovation.  The knowledge gap between her academic colleagues on the one hand and her philanthropic networks on the other caused her to create the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society which she now chairs. These formative experiences

The organizing principle of the book is different ways to give, starting with the gift of yourself – your time, experience, skills and networks.  This is a great giving option for many, especially people transitioning out of the workforce and redefining their lives in the community.  Did you know that people who consistently volunteer rate their jobs, physical health and emotional health more positively than non-volunteers?  Today, more than 63 million Americans, or 21% of the population, volunteer, the dollar value of which was $169 billion in 2009 alone.

Next, the author provides one of the best compendiums of online giving I’ve seen.  She calls it “connecting the drops” attracting many small “drops” of philanthropy that form an ocean of giving.  Some examples of giving through the viral world that change the real world:
  • The Jolkona Foundation established by Adnan Mahmud and Nadia Khawaja, which helped pioneer this new form of philanthropy with many donors making small gifts:  $40 to educate a single girl in Afghanistan for 10 months, or $50 for a solar cooker for a Tibetan family.  Donors do everything online, and when a nonprofit spends funds on a project, the donor is notified by email and can log on to see a video, photo, or story about how the money has helped.
  • The Rockefeller Foundation, which formed a partnership with GlobalGiving and InnoCentive to create a crowdsourcing approach to some of society’s toughest issues.  “If you want an answer, ask everyone,” says the Rockefeller Foundation’s website.
  • The Case Foundation, which launched the “Make It Your Own Awards,” a competition that challenged people to submit ideas for creating positive change in their home communities.  Members of the public judged and picked the winners through an online voting system, an example of “philanthropic crowdsourcing.”
  • Relay for Life, which has staged “virtual walks” on Second Life in which you have your avatar walk for charity.
  • Donors Choose, which uses online giving to support specific projects in America’s public schools.  Teachers post their needs and donors pick what they want to fund.
  • Razoo, which creates online fundraising campaigns that nonprofits leverage for their own purposes.
  • Givezooks, linking donors to nonprofits that promote their fundraising efforts online.
  • Crowdrise, which lets you create a page to promote your cause, the solicit funds through  email and Facebook contacts.
  • Kiva, specializing in micro-lending.
  • Mobile phone giving, like texting 90999 to the Red Cross to make a $10 donation.
Simply put, the Internet has turned philanthropy into a collective process.  And e-philanthropy has created another phenomenon – communities of givers who share their giving experiences in the blogosphere.  Users form advocacy groups, share passions and ideas, and sometimes become social activists for the causes they care about.