Silicon Valley Launches Philanthropy 2.0
Reinvention is nothing new in Silicon Valley, California, home of some of the world’s most prominent cutting-edge technology companies. Frustrated with what they perceive as the slow pace and inefficiency of many nonprofits, some of the area’s innovators are bringing fresh approaches to solving vexing social issues. Along with money, these social entrepreneurs are applying their business skills—from marketing to operations, together with their enthusiasm and business drive—to transform nonprofits into more savvy, goal-focused businesses.
“Donors aren’t waiting until retirement now,” says Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, a philanthropist and author of Giving 2.0, a book on how to improve philanthropy. She says, “This is no longer about sympathy. It’s about strategy,” asserting that donors today are demanding more research and metrics before funding charitable projects.
Beth Kanter, a nonprofit scholar and author of The Networked Nonprofit, points to MomsRising.org, which advocates for family-friendly laws, as a leading example. “MomsRising didn’t reinvent the wheel, and instead just focused on what they were enthusiastic about—mobilizing people,” she says. Instead of operating in a traditional manner, the nonprofit outsourced much of its operations, allowing it to run more nimbly on a virtual basis.
Arrillaga-Andreessen advises, “If we are to solve these problems, the onus is on givers to facilitate that change.”