Do More Than GiveThis is the first of three posts constituting a review of a terrific recent book on effective philanthropy entitled “Do More Than Give: The Six Practices of Donors Who Change the World” by Leslie R. Crutchfield, John V. Kania, and Mark R. Kramer (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011. Print).

What does it take to effect change in the social sector? That is the overarching question of “Do More Than Give: The Six Practices of Donors Who Change the World.” Three of the most prominent thought leaders on national trends in philanthropy hold up models of “catalytic” donors who truly move the needle on complex social issues.

Catalytic donors utterly commit to a cause, mobilize an array of relationships and assets to reach goals, and create an impact that is measurable and impressive.

How do such donors accomplish so much? Do More than Give analyzes just that. It provides a playbook for donors who are ready to learn from some truly amazing and ultimately inspiring stories of social impact.

Most donors, whether they are individuals, foundations, or corporations, believe that they are in the business of “giving away money.” They select a charity, give a grant, and in return get a report back from the charity in six months to a year on how the money was spent. This is an important form of community based philanthropy, especially for donors who feel connected to home and the concomitant commitment to help local nonprofits with their work.

But the authors of Do More Than Give hope to inspire action well beyond the current model of philanthropy where the benefit flows in a linear fashion from donor to grantee to ultimate service recipient. In fact, the book isn’t about how to “give away money” at all. Rather, it’s about how to become an active participant in and leader of a collective movement to address social issues.

The first and utterly essential next step is “committing to a cause.” More to come on that in a couple of days.