With disasters wreaking havoc in Japan and Somalia, and with the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement forging new political rhetoric around the world, 2011 was nothing if not tumultuous. The same can be said of the philanthropic sector. While overall giving remained steady, certain sectors (such as social justice philanthropy) experienced a sharp decline in funding.

We learned many lessons about strategic giving in 2011. Strategic giving enables generous donors to think of their philanthropy as investing in a results-oriented, proactive, and impactful process of advancing and empowering their community. CAAP offers a Guide to Arab American Giving tailored to the needs and concerns of Arab American philanthropists. 

Before choosing a cause to contribute to, all philanthropists should answer the following questions:

  • What are my values and beliefs?
  • What is “success” and how can it be achieved?
  • What am I accountable for?
  • What will it take to get the job done?
  • How do I work with grantees?

Considering these questions helps donors determine their funding priorities, improve their giving over time, and achieve maximum impact. In addition, the following tips provide guidance for strengthening your philanthropic impact over time.

  • Tap into the power of business for achieving good.
  • Forge nonprofit peer networks to foster collaboration.
  • Include the beneficiaries of donations in developing strategies and assessing impact.
  • Employ an adaptive leadership mind-set to solve problems.
  • Continue learning about what’s working and what needs to be changed to advance the cause.

The new year promises to be a year of bolder giving across the philanthropic sector. Want to learn more about strategic giving in 2012? Consult our Guide to Arab American Giving, or simply send us an email. What are your New Year’s giving resolutions?

Photo courtesy: Times of India

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