The landscape of giving (aka the altruistic economy) is beginning to shift. Not content with the traditional institutions of charity and philanthropy, people are experimenting with new approaches. New Giving is characterized by new platforms and tools to aggregate project funding from distributed crowds, self-organized giving communities (sometimes called giving circles) coordinating, usually at the local level, to drive funds to smaller project that typically off the radar of traditional funders and investors, and A focus on building social capital by moving financial capital to important projects. New Giving is civic participation.
This trend needs to be better understood and amplified. Anyone can be a philanthropist, but they need easy tools and clear pathways.
Adventures in New Giving is about discovery, storytelling and community-building.
On the discovery side, this is a field research project. What is going on? Who are these New Givers? Why are they giving? And what can strengthen their impact?
This is a compelling story that deserves to be share widely. Why are people doing this in the depths of a recession? How can we help more people follow their lead?
On community: Often, people are not networking beyond their particular New Giving project circles. What we have now is an organic uprising of a self-organized giving communities and platforms for organizing crowds. How can we build a mutual aid network to help New Givers can learn, share and enhance their impact together?
I have met amazing people and had a number of inspiring and challenging insights shared with me. I believe there is a new movement coming together: philanthropy is now cool.
Take my home base of Seattle, for example. There are at least six young philanthropy projects, including Awesome Foundation, Sprout, the local Philanthro Chapter, Agency (aka Party with a Purpose), Service Girls, and Social Justice Fund NW’s Giving Projects. And I’m still learning about more efforts here and around the world all the time.
And I’ve been looking for a name – what to call this movement? Last November, Awesome Foundation founder Tim Hwang wrote a blog post where he defined it as “New Giving,” something apart from Big Giving (think traditional foundations).
I have a unique vantage point as both a maker and analyst of this trend, and someone with a history of succesful community-building.