February 14, 2011 by eJP
by Lisa Eisen
Just over a year ago, in the wake of severe economic dislocation affecting donors and nonprofits alike, I wrote an article in Philanthropy News Digest exploring how philanthropists and foundations can give effectively in challenging times.
Today, with the benefit of hindsight and a slowly rebounding economy, it is clear that while the financial crisis had a painful impact on giving, it did not provoke an abrupt reversal of course. Rather, it accelerated tectonic shifts already well under way in philanthropy. The Jewish philanthropic environment was and is no exception.
As we begin to emerge from the dark days of 2008 and 2009 amidst predictions that foundation giving is poised for modest growth in 2011, several trends are having a transformative effect on Jewish philanthropy. It is essential that we understand, adapt to, and embrace these fundamental changes to ensure that our community continues to thrive.
1) Increasing Democratization of Philanthropy
Gone are the days when philanthropy was solely the province of billionaire benefactors. Today, thanks to the rise of online tools that expedite and focus the giving process, anyone can be a donor. Intermediaries such as Razoo, Facebook Causes and Kiva offer global donors of all sizes more direct paths to local initiatives, and many organizations are responding with online appeals that allow donors to make charitable contributions in targeted ways and according to particular interests.