There has never been a more challenging time for philanthropy. Globalization, natural disasters, and economic turmoil have placed additional stresses on social safety nets already stretched to the max. In this environment, the philanthropic sector must be smarter, more adaptable, and more collaborative.
None of us has all the answers, but some innovative approaches to giving already have shown strong results. Our sector must focus on bringing about meaningful change to create sustainable value. In other words, we must move away from “checkbook charity” and toward an integrated approach to giving that includes volunteerism, contributions of expertise (including mentoring), and public-private partnerships that enable all participants to leverage their best assets in service to the greater good.
Here are some examples:
These efforts, and their results, would not have been possible without public-private partnerships to tackle problems that are just too big for individual organizations to address. And those were just the headlines.
In the background, we must continue our work to educate and influence decision makers and the media about the sustainable value of what we do. This is most effectively accomplished by speaking with a unified voice. United, we can work together to forge new relationships and enhance existing ones. Together, we also can share the vision that guides us toward new ways of accomplishing our mission and new models for giving as philanthropy continues to evolve. See you at Foundations on the Hill!
Ann Cramer is Americas Director, IBM corporate citizenship and corporate affairs and chair of the Council’s Public Policy Committee. This post also appears on Forum’s Forum, a blog from the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers.