Part of our CAAPtivating Reads series by Katherine Hanway, CAAP Donor Services and Program Officer

Philanthropy positively impacts individuals, communities, even the world. In their book Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know, David Bornstein and Susan Davis argue that philanthropy is successful because “compared to policy makers and business investors, philanthropists [individuals and foundations] can assume more risk, maintain a longer-term focus, and support less popular ideas” (page 108). But how can philanthropy make an even bigger impact? Bornstein and Davis provide some helpful advice to grantmakers for areas to improve upon:

  1. Intensify focus on measurable results. Even let grantees evaluate you.
  2. Provide more flexible grants: offer technical assistance in addition to monetary awards, provide multi-year grants, or provide general operating support that isn’t restricted to only one program.
  3. Foster partnerships, collaboration and leveraging opportunities with other funding institutions, social entrepreneurs, policy-makers, and businesses.
  4. Provide scholarship opportunities to individuals interested in the field of social entrepreneurship, so that they have the opportunity to “transform institutions to advance solutions to social problems” (page 1).
  5. Encourage new forms of philanthropy where individuals pool their resources, such as giving circles.
  6. Communicate funding priorities and decisions clearly with grantees.
  7. Withdraw funding from organizations that are not meeting expectations.

The Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP) is committed to continually improving our grantmaking practices in order to make the largest possible impact and foster positive relationships with our grantees. While we already practice many of Bornstein’s and Davis’ points listed above, we regularly solicit feedback from our grantees so that we can continue evaluating our impact and best practices. To learn more about CAAP’s grantmaking, visit our website. 

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