Giving 2.0™: Transform Your Giving and Our World

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There are so many ways to give, but the question of where to start and how to be effective can be daunting. Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen’s Giving 2.0 demystifies this process. Whether you’re giving 20 dollars a month, deciding how to get involved in philanthropy, or even starting your own nonprofit, she walks you through the do’s, the don’ts, and the questions you will need answered. Each chapter illustrates different forms of giving, as well as their challenges and opportunities. To Laura, giving is about facing those challenges while staying true to yourself.

Laura’s passion sparked as an adolescent when she was exposed to the world of philanthropy by her parents. She details the story of others who grew up like herself and thus had these values instilled at an early age. While many began their philanthropic journey like her, she knows not everyone may start the same way. It could be that you’re driven by your own experiences, have seen injustice first hand, or even suffered the loss of a loved one. However your journey began, your philanthropic values can be generational. Laura addresses this to show how one can instill these values into their children.

Getting started can be difficult no matter the size of the contributions you plan to make. The book does a phenomenal job of explaining how to give at all levels while highlighting the positive rewards that come from giving such as personal joy, network, and values you cultivate for your children. No matter what sparked your desire, Laura teaches you how to make it the best experience, remain dedicated, and avoid burnout. For Laura, there are three important prerequisites to consider before you start giving: how much time you can manage to give, the skills you can offer, and what you want to get out of it. Giving doesn’t have to involve money. A giver may have unique skills to offer. For example, one can work remotely as an accountant getting finances sorted for a nonprofit or support women by escorting them to court from a battered women’s shelter. Laura discusses financial ways to give as well. Like many, the most you may be able to contribute is a small amount, but this shouldn’t stop you. Donating small, joining a giving circle to pool funds, even giving to organizations that are intermediaries are all possibilities to explore.

As a realistic giver, Laura leaves no stone unturned. She constantly reminds us to evaluate where your money is going by asking the right questions and doing proper due dilligence. The organization should provide you with results. Otherwise, it’s on you to ask specific questions that measure the effect of your contribution. If the mission changes within an organization, or your money isn’t being allocated appropriately, it’s okay to make a graceful exit.

There are also new efforts to make the giving process easier. The change agent is the internet. Whether you’re researching on how to get started, understanding the impact of your contributions, or learning how to scale up your own nonprofit, internet can help. You can gain insights on the decision system for allocation, who is exactly on the ground, and much more. This also transformed the giving process by allowing people to come together to exchange ideas and connect across the globe. Today, People can donate easily to intermediaiary that pools money and allocates on a need basis. These organizations tend also to have local contact that help show transparancy and evidence on on-the-ground impact.

Laura knows that like her, some people are so passionate that they want deep involvements. Once you have found your niche and feel the pull to deepen your involvement, one may consider taking a board seat. Undoubtedly, this means greater responsibility. If you are considering a position on the board, Laura urges careful consideration about the time you will be able to contribute, the role the board plays, and even whether it’s worth your time. If you want to contirbute on a full-time basis, creating your own nonprofit may be the best option. Laura details the recommended assets to start a non-profit as well as decision-making process on whether there is a demand for your thesis. Other moving parts such as an accounting department, financial donors, and more is another big aspect to consider. Laura paves the way to make the process seem like it can be a reality rather than a distant dream.

Charity is often thought of as giving away to those in need with no expectation of something in return. However, this isn’t always the case. Many business models of giving have proved successful. Philanthropy-initiated businesses have created lifechanging advances. Oftentime this creates income for people in need and eventually a for-profit that can run on its own. By harnessing the power of business, donors can stretch the dollar, while also providing long term solutions. 

In certain areas like advocacy and policy reform, giving can seem controversal. In these scenarios, it is imperative to consider different stakeholders, the giving principles, and potential secondary affect. To advance a cause and create real change, advocacy needs to fix problems at the root.

You can read in more details about Laura’s journeys and the best practices of giving in the book. The possibilities is endless. Time, money, skills, or compassion, every little bit makes a world of a difference to someone in need. The important part is to start. Regardless of how simple or complex your mode of philanthropy is, Laura shows that you can always give in a meaningful way.