Outrageous Generosity Blog
Otar N. Makharashvili

Diaspora Philanthropy, Giving Effectively Across Borders & Emerging Trends in Global Philanthropy

May 15th, 2015 by Otar N. Makharashvili

Over the past few years Diaspora giving has grown significantly stemming from the global mobility of talent and increasing wealth within diaspora communities globally. Simultaneously, philanthropic groups and community foundations in developing countries are increasing their efforts to promote local individual philanthropy and maintain ties with and fundraise from their diasporas as the internet is making it possible for dispersed communities to collaborate, organize and sustain ties across borders.

As part of Bolder Giving’s Global Givers Initiative, the aim of which is to advance philanthropic giving by promoting donor awareness and action in Southeastern Europe through donor storytelling (now expanding globally) we recently co-hosted a webinar with WINGS (Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support) centered around Diaspora Philanthropy: Strategies for Giving Effectively Across Borders and Encouraging Others to Join You. Our speakers Burcu Mirza, Board Member of Turkish Philanthropy Funds and Jenny Hodgson, Executive Director of Global Fund for Community Foundations explored their reflections on how to overcome barriers to giving internationally, discussed trends in global philanthropy and alluded to effective giving strategies for diaspora members.

Here are 4 takeaways from the webinar: 

  • Interest in Fortifying Local Philanthropy and the Emergence of Multi-Stakeholder, Multi-Donor, Multi-Owner Philanthropic Institutions Worldwide.

The past several years have witnessed an amplified interest in promoting philanthropy globally. Organizations involved in this emerging arena have grown rapidly and interest in individual donor engagement has been particularly growing, as evidenced by a growing demand for partnership with Bolder Giving on our Global Stories Initiative from various philanthropic groups in Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and Latin America, and more. We have observed that many nonprofit organizations, foundations, and various philanthropic groups are endeavoring to both fortify the nonprofit infrastructure working on civil society promotion and build a culture of giving among the public. 

Local community foundations in developing countries are increasingly stepping up as key players in international development through their multi-stakeholder, multi-donor and multi-owner models working on a range of community issues and most importantly, utilizing local leadership accountability and building donor trust.


  • Utilizing the Strength of Established Institutions when Giving Internationally.

U.S.-based institutional intermediaries, such as community foundations, that specialize in helping philanthropists fund nonprofits or NGOs are simplifying overseas grantmaking. A growing number of intermediaries, whether they’re focused on specific diasporas, small grassroots grants, etc, offer global expertise and experience pooled with their comprehensive understanding of the legal process. They may be able to identify isolated local communities in dire need of support which you may never come across on your own since they develop grassroots, on-the-ground networks of partner agencies. “My idea of an intermediary is an institute with a lot of reach, professional management, the right stakeholders, and a systematic, thoughtful and methodological way of approaching grantmaking . . . You need the strength of the institutions to carry your work forward to be impactful. You cannot do it alone!” – says Burcu Mirza, who moves her entire international philanthropic giving through institutional intermediaries.

While some of these intermediaries charge an administrative fee for their services “the value of institutions that can professionally manage charitable money, deploy resources, identify groups, get the money to them and provide other types of support cannot be underestimated” – says Jenny Hodgson.

  • Barriers to Local Philanthropy Promotion.

The lack of trust in Civil Society and the NGO sector in general continues to be the biggest roadblock for groups working on local individual philanthropy promotion. Often times it’s easier for groups to write a business proposal to an external funder than walk down the street to some local business and explain why their work matters. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that individual philanthropy is non-existent; in fact, in most instances it is part of the cultural frame of many communities around the world, but the difference is that it is driven by complex social and individual dynamics. So how do we change this? Community foundations may be a solution due to their above-mentioned multi-stakeholder approach which gives way to local leadership, sense of accountability and instills the sense of trust in donors.

  • Remittances are not Charitable Contributions but there may be a link.

Remittances sent from Diasporas to their families shouldn’t be confused for charitable contributions as those moneys are rarely spent on charitable activities. They’re part for everyday life but surprisingly, there may be a link. Accordingly to a recent report on remittances and charitable donations in the UK: “Remittance giving and charitable donating are strongly related. Households that send or ‘remit’ money overseas are more likely to make donations to domestic UK charities than the general UK population is: 42% amongst remitters, compared with 29% of households in the general population.”

To learn more about the Global Givers Project, please visit our website at www.globalgivers.org or contact Otar Makharashavili at otar@boldergiving.org

Reference Link: http://www.globalgivers.org/#!webinars/cj3p

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Jason Franklin PhD

Giving Resolutions 1/5 - Give More!

May 7th, 2015 by Jason Franklin PhD

Thanks also to Jennifer Corriggio, Bolder Giving's program fellow, for help in drafting this blog series.

When people ask me what Bolder Giving does, I explain that we work to inspire people to give big and take more risks with their giving.  As I prepare to transition out of my role as Bolder Giving’s ED, I want to share a series of blog posts with some of the basic “giving resolutions” I’ve used over the years as possibilities for people to consider as they seek to shake up their philanthropy.  The first one is a simple yet challenging resolution – Give More!

I often get asked, “what should I think about when I’m trying to figure out how much to give?” and hear how overwhelmed people are when they grapple with big questions like “how much.” Remember, the key to following through with resolutions is to make them specific, manageable, and to create a goal that is completely within your control!

What are some ways that you could give more?  Well, to begin with, you might first need to get organized with your giving.  Do you currently have a budget?  Or are you giving based on whim, feeling, or habit?  There’s no right or wrong answer, but before you determine how much more you could give, it’s worth taking a look at your current giving habits.  You should first figure out how much you give – your giving budget if you will – whether that is an annual budget, or an average monthly level, etc. Once you’ve figured out your baseline, here are five possible approaches you could take to experiment with giving more:

  1. Once you have established your giving budget, ask yourself if you could give 10% more – simple and straightforward, this is possibly the easiest way to push yourself.  And if 10% feels easy, I encourage you to think about what percent increase would make you pause and go “whoa, that’s too much!” Then move your giving to just before that edge…or even to that edge if you want to explore how that level of giving feels.   
  2. If you want to be more generous with a specific gift, consider adding a “0” to your previous gift.  If you are not comfortable with such a steep increase, consider making a pledge for the gift with the “0” on the end, but pledged over two or three years.
  3. Consider setting aside money for an Impulse Fund.  The purpose of this fund is to set aside money for giving on a whim or impulse.  These are gifts to organizations to support a friend who asks for your support, or perhaps for relief of an unanticipated disaster that touched you. With an Impulse Fund, you give yourself permission ahead of time to experience the thrill of “just saying yes” without too much analysis into the giving or organization.
  4. Another way you could give more is to make the gift now rather than later.  If you were planning on making a bequest, could you at least share the intention of the gift now?  For example, you could create a charitable trust and notify the beneficiary charity of the gift.
  5. Consider giving something up or changing a consumption habit, so that you could have more money to give.  This could be something as simple the classic encouragement to make your coffee at home and saving $3/day ($15/week and $60/month) by not purchasing your latte from the coffee shop.  Think about the impact you could make by giving an additional $60/month to a charity you respect by giving up something that likely would not change the quality of your life.  It doesn’t have to be your designer coffee either.  What’s something else you could easily give up?  An impulse shopping purchase for shoes you would likely wear only a few times?  A magazine subscription for a magazine you never get around to reading?

We hope that we’ve been able to inspire you with a few creative ways you could give more.  What’s stopping you from coming up with your own ways to give more?

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Babbie Jacobs

Strategies for Funding Racial Justice Organizations

April 16th, 2015 by Babbie Jacobs

In case you missed it, here is the link to the March 2015 conversation, a joint event with Women Donors Network & Bolder Giving featuring bold givers Connie Heller and Cathy Raphael.  I don’t know about anyone else but I find this one of the most difficult areas of funding to navigate and to determine how to be effective.

During this heartfelt conversation Connie and Cathy shared their personal journeys and funding strategies as they both continue to try to find ways to provide impactful, meaningful support to organizations addressing complex racial justice issues.  Below are some of the highlights.  Please let us know if you’d like to be part of a small group to continue this conversation.

Defining Racialization – Connie’s definition:

Similar to marginalization, racialization is a process through which different racial groups are given or denied access to society’s concern and resources.  The mechanisms and costs associated with how one’s group is racialized change with the times.

  • The legacy of racialization is intergenerational and is self-reinforcing. It dehumanizes entire groups of people and alienates us from one another

  • Proactive efforts and interventions are required to disrupt these cycles

  • Racial Justice grant-making rests on understanding how power is distributed or not—and what you can do to help shift that distribution

Three Questions Connie asks herself and put on the table for our consideration are:

  • How has the absence of a race analysis inhibited our ability to live in a democracy, work in an economy, and enjoy a society in which all people belong?

  • What would it take for you to apply a racial justice lens to your work, or to take your racial justice work to the next level?

  • What support would you need to take your next step?


Their approaches to giving

Cathy:  When asked what my theory of change is, I recall that during my experiences as a young vista volunteer in New Mexico, I realized that not only didn’t I have the answers, I didn’t know enough to have the questions!  It was then I adopted the practice to talk less and listen more, a strategy I still apply to my approach to grant-making.

I also realized I needed to become more focused on my giving and look carefully at what issues were most important to me: Women’s issues, human rights and environmental concerns. I want to ensure that the organizations I support are addressing the most important issues to the communities most affected.

Now I:

  • Try to fill in the gaps that are blank

  • Give larger amounts to fewer organizations

  • Give to operating budgets rather than restricted

  • I have found that giving through an intermediary such as through public and community foundations is a powerful way to magnify my giving

  • Trusted intermediaries have the capacity to seek out pertinent organizations and follow up with due diligence and support

Connie: I learned over time to take the time to see what is right before me, and to ask questions; race is not stagnant, so funding strategies change and evolve. 

I tend to support the following:

  • Organizing by and for the most impacted and under resourced communities
  • Grassroots leadership in year round civic engagement
  • Work that increases understanding of structural racial inequity
  • Work that connects academic and theological inquiry to organizing and movement building


How do they keep from getting overwhelmed?

Connie loves reading books about race that are intellectual and hard hitting and is constantly stunned by the depth of disparity then switches to reading about artists who create beauty and make the world a more beautiful place because, “In reality all it’s of our diversity, all of our cultures and people’s resilience that make this world a beautiful place.” 

The ways Cathy regains her optimism is through hearing the inspirational work the grantees are doing.  “Having empathy gives me connection and hearing other voices gives me hope.”  I also have to admit I read mystery novels as they almost always turn out all right!

Find a group of peers

Both Connie & Cathy said it is essential to have a group of friends, colleagues or trusted/respected individuals to talk about these difficult topics and to get support to continue exploring ways to become involved.  Keep talking!  Keep exploring.  One source for finding peers: Bolder Giving’s Giving Communities

How do I find organizations to support?

What can we all do to get involved?

Both encourage each of us to take the Racial Justice pledge where donors can commit to fund at least one additional racial justice organization or increase their giving to a racial justice organization they already support. This pledge is a collective effort by Bolder GivingGIFT (Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training)Neighborhood Funders GroupNorth Star FundProteus FundResource GenerationSolidaireThreshold Foundation, and the Women Donors Network.

Again, please let us know if you’d like to be part of a small group of individuals continuing this conversation. Email me () or give us a call 646-678-4394.

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