Building Movements strategies inspire and support people to take action, together, to achieve deep and lasting social, cultural or political change. Activities often include grassroots organizing, public education, media campaigns, and social action. Examples include Black Lives Matter, Me Too, Earth Day and Pro-Choice.
Description: You have a big picture perspective and take a long term view of how to drive lasting change by influencing society's opinion on an issue. You are a risk-taker and activist, giving money, time, and a voice to the issues you care about.
Movement Builders change social perspectives on an issue by increasing awareness, attracting more people, and creating a tipping point. Activities often include grassroots organizing, public education, outreach/media campaigns, coalition development, and social pressure. Examples include Black Lives Matter, Me Too, Earth Day and Pro-Choice.
You are attracted to organizations and efforts that engage people in solving problems and speaking out. You believe that positive change happens when people unite around an issue. You are more likely to fund efforts that use research to make a case, rather than to fund the research itself. You tend to be a consistent, patient investor because it takes time to build a groundswell of civic action. You believe that “if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”
Implications: In evaluating different organizations, you will want to know how many people they involve; whether their numbers have been growing; whether the organization works in collaboration with other organizations; and how they are measuring progress.
Look for organizations that connect local efforts with national work as a way to both extend the footprint of current efforts as well as to tap deeper resources and leverage prior work. Also, look for demonstrated success in developing partnerships with other leadership groups that can influence and bring other communities onboard, or which can work on the same issue from a different vantage point -- e.g., LGBTQ groups partnering with Latino groups to create support for same-sex marriage.
Direct Service initiatives deliver direct assistance to individuals, one person at a time. Sometimes services are aimed at emergency relief needs (e.g. natural or man-made disasters) and other times at more systemic problems (e.g. alleviating hunger, homelessness, illiteracy). Direct Services not only help individuals get what they need to survive, but also to acquire a sense of personal well-being and empowerment. These individuals in turn can influence and change the lives of others around them. Examples include American Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, and Feeding America.
Description: You want to be part of organizations that serve individuals, especially populations at risk. You believe that private giving is an essential supplement to public support systems in order to address urgent issues of survival. You are comfortable supporting emergency interventions that provide immediate relief. Direct Service investors are more likely short term and results-oriented givers, who support different organizations depending on the most urgent needs at any given time. While you have a sense of urgency and seek immediate relief, ultimately, you also believe it is more effective to “teach one to fish, rather than give them a fish”.
Implications: Since Direct Service investors want to see immediate impact, when evaluating organizations, you will want to look for efficient, well-run organizations. High-performing organizations should have well-developed data tracking systems and can provide clear statements about the outcomes of their efforts. Look for client stories that demonstrate the value of the services delivered. To have greater impact, organizations often collaborate with others serving the same population and with those working on the policy angle of the issue.
Community foundations, faith-based groups and United Ways are typically good, well-established resources to help find the most effective organizations providing direct services in your local area.
Making Change Stick champions support organizations that are the watch-dogs and protectors of social change issues. These organizations monitor public policies and practices. They encourage long term operational strategies that defend and protect human, social and civil rights, especially where there is systemic, enduring opposition or controversy. People with this problem-solving style tend to be deeply concerned about specific issues or may have strong ideological points of view. These organizations monitor legislation, court rulings, and public policy in order to ensure that their issues and positions of interest continue to be protected and enforced. Examples include AARP, UnidosUS, Sierra Club and NARAL.
Description: You recognize that public sentiment on issues is in constant flux, and that without dedicated ongoing effort, progress can stall or even be reversed. You have a very long term focus, staying power, and resiliency -- all of which are essential since the job is never finished, and requires constant effort to sustain momentum.
You tend to be drawn to strong ideological issues, and realize that these complex issues require ongoing, holistic efforts to permanently effect change. You know that you often need to reframe the issues in the minds of the public (e.g. assumptions of boys as bullies or immigrants as criminals). This requires diverse approaches, including research, consumer education campaigns, public awareness building, public policy, and alliance building.
Implications: Since Making Change Stick efforts often require holistic multifaceted strategies, typically organizations focus on just one issue. Look for organizations that have a diverse funding base, strong private-public partnerships, and are engaged in dynamic coalition-building to exert influence across many aspects of the issue. When investing in local efforts, be sure that the organizations have strong associations with national efforts to tap broader resources and experiences.
Increasing Effectiveness strategies strengthen organizational capacity and develop leaders as a way to accelerate and sustain positive change. These efforts increase an organization's long term sustainability and impact by sharpening strategic planning skills, improving efficiency, building capacity, and/or scaling services. Examples include leadership training, developing best practices, implementing technology improvements, strategic planning, and scaling-up to expand or open new service outlets.
Description: You value “smart” organizations working on your issues and are willing to help them get even smarter. You believe that good organizations and programs are in place, but they can be more impactful by improving the efficiency, building capacity and/or scaling services. You are frustrated when organizations don't have the proper tools and resources to be most effective, and you enjoy investing in these even if they are not “exciting”. You believe that the issues will not go away any time soon; therefore, strengthening the organization's capacity ensures a long term investment in social change.
Your charitable giving is often characterized by patient investing over time to develop a long term, sustainable, high-impact organization. While you want specific, measurable outcomes to justify your investment, you are comfortable that outcomes are not always high-profile. You value multiple aspects of organizational effectiveness: a strong, committed leadership team, excellent strategic planning, and effective operations.
Implications: In evaluating organizations to invest in, you are driven by the organization's purpose and alignment with your own social change interests. You look for evidence that the organization is inherently strong and viable, but due to specific obstacles or limitations, it hasn’t yet reached its full potential.
Public Policy is a strategic approach that creates broad-scale change by creating, amending, or repealing laws to reflect desired governing principles and funding priorities. Public Policy aims to change how things are done systemically for entire classes of people. Examples include passing state laws to require universal background checks for gun sales, mandating auto safety seats for children, and health care reform. Some examples of organizations that make public policy a centerpiece of their work include AARP, ACLU, and Greenpeace.
Description: You believe that government is a key source of systemic change and that charitable giving is a way to catalyze government into action. You believe that in order for change to affect the well-being of many, it ultimately needs to be formally incorporated into the legal fabric and standards of society. You recognize the power of supporting public policy and advocacy work with tax deductible gifts to 501(c)3 public charities. Additionally, you sometimes support direct lobbying and political action through 501(c)4 nonprofits, even though you know these gifts will not quality for a tax deduction. Some examples of high-profile policy work include DUI laws, car safety standards, health care reform, and environmental protection.
You are a long-haul, high-risk funder, prepared to go the distance for an issue about which you have passion. You know that the effort to influence is sometimes as important as the influence itself. Public policy is the culmination of creating public awareness and support for an issue, and broad recognition of the importance and urgency for definitive action. You look for organizations that have demonstrated success in the policy and political environments.
Implications: In evaluating organizations to support, you will want to know what “campaigns” they have been associated with and the results. Typical success drivers include demonstrable coalitions across diverse groups, effective collaboration with groups focusing on different aspects of a given issue, and having strong relationships with public policy influencers, the media, scholars and reformers in the trenches.
Research and Big Ideas refers to creating different ways of thinking about problems and developing new and effective solutions by investing in research and development. It often includes furthering the knowledge base around an issue, in order to reframe or give new meaning to the issue. By viewing the issues differently, better strategies can often be developed. An example is reframing the poor state of education as a national security issue, where the need to build intellectual capital is viewed as a key driver of economic prosperity and foreign independence, which in turn safeguard our national security.
Description: You are drawn to break-through efforts and innovative ways of thinking about problems. You have a high tolerance for risk. You seek systemic, transformative change by thoroughly understanding an issue and addressing its root causes. Examples of research that reshaped issues and brought greater public attention include the importance of early childhood education, the economics of the clean energy economy, and quantifying the scope and consequences of human trafficking in the U.S.
You are an adventurous giver with a long-term vision. You want to know who is working on the cutting edge of issues and provoking debate. You often want to be involved in the conversation, and to give your time as well as your money to these efforts.
Implications: In evaluating organizations or opportunities, you will want to know their track record of success in developing new break-through ideas and new discoveries. While the idea is important, it is equally important that there is an actual change created through implementing or acting on the insights from the discovery. Therefore, seeing demonstrable practical implementation of their new ideas is an important performance indicator. Another factor to take into account when evaluating an organization is how objective or non-partisan they are, which can be often ascertained by the level of funding independence.
Much of the Research and Big Ideas data come from national or international think tanks, research labs, consulting firms, and issue-based associations. Examples include Pew Charitable Trust, Aspen Institute, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, McKinsey & Company, and the American Cancer Society.