Religion is a complex and often contradictory force in our world. It fosters hope and comfort but also doubt and guilt. It creates both community and exclusion. It brings societies together around shared belief and tears them apart through war. However, what unites the faithful, whatever their religion, is the unshakeable force of generosity.
My father taught me many important giving lessons, but two stand out. First, always give as much as you possibly can. And second, give equally from among your resources – your time, your mind and your capital. These are principles I live by.
When you give as a family, not only are you sharing the happiness that giving brings you by watching it translate into positive change, but you are also transmitting your giving values to your children by engaging them in the giving process itself.
Proactive giving is what you do when you've found your passion. It expresses your values, interests and concerns. It engages not just your dollars, but also your mind, time, skills and networks – the philanthropic equivalent of leaning in, rather than leaning back. Most importantly, proactive giving is something you want to do.
As philanthropists, the most powerful legacy we can create is one that keeps on giving – through our children.
You can express your generosity in ways that are virtually limitless. This was what I wanted to convey in 'Giving 2.0' – that whether you have $10 or $10 million to give, if you identify the right opportunities and make the most of your resources, your impact can be tremendous.
The fact that 35 percent of all American giving went to religious organizations in 2010 reflects how closely bound many of us are with our place of worship.
When incomes and bonuses decrease, revenues falter, and businesses stumble, it's more important than ever to give – not necessarily more, but in a way that matters more. When incomes are down and wallets are stretched, the effectiveness of our giving is what really counts.
Of course, giving is deeply emotional. But supplementing emotion with research makes it more likely that a gift can have a bigger impact. It's like any investment. After all, you wouldn't put funds into stocks or bonds without understanding the potential return. Why wouldn't you do the same when investing in society?
Online, you can become much more than a reactive donor – you can become a proactive, strategic, collaborative philanthropist, improving your giving every day by tapping into the wealth of philanthropic resources available at the tap of a keyboard or the click of a mouse.
Philanthropy is often seen as society's risk capital. That means the onus is on philanthropists, nonprofit leaders and social entrepreneurs to innovate. But philanthropic innovation is not just about creating something new. It also means applying new thinking to old problems, processes and systems.
'Giving 2.0' is about making your giving matter more to the people we all hope to help, and it's about making your giving matter more to you.
In my view, a philanthropist is anyone who gives anything – time, money, experience, skills or networks – in any amount, to create a better world. This is not how we once thought about philanthropy. The word used to conjure up something rather passive – sitting down and writing checks.
Being innovative in your philanthropy allows you to stride forward in your giving journey; you can marry your mind and heart to turn charity into lasting impact; and you can become more ambitious in your giving.
When I look at founders and CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook and Brian Chesky at Airbnb and Sebastian Thrun at Udacity, these are companies that are creating extraordinary social good and extraordinary economic and educational empowerment, all within with context of a for-profit model.
Suggest your children try tithing – giving 10 percent of their allowance to a charity every month.
Philanthropic dollars are precious resources, so it's our responsibility to consider how we use them carefully. Yet few of us spend enough time doing so.
When I started teaching at Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2000, no field-based courses in strategic philanthropy existed.
Too often we're happy to receive thanks from the nonprofits we fund, accepting gratitude instead of feedback or performance measurements.
Instead of waiting until the holiday season – when mail solicitations flood in from worthy organizations – and making a flurry of gifts because this is the time of year to give, sit down and take stock. Identify your passion, learn about it, and direct your time, mind, and dollars to aligned causes and organizations.
I want to empower and educate and inspire individuals who are giving to give in a way that is more meaningful. The more meaningful our giving is, the more giving we will do.
My mother taught me that to maximize your philanthropic potential, you need to constantly challenge your capabilities and put yourself in situations that are not always comfortable. Through her example, I discovered that there is no more beautiful way to live a life than to live a life of service.
My father has been to me a paragon of what actualizing philanthropic potential can be.
As technology changes the way we communicate, connect, create, consume and innovate, it is democratizing access to opportunity. Education is no exception.
Actively deciding to give to causes that move you deeply is far more fulfilling than the momentary gratification derived from signing a check and mailing it to a nonprofit about which you know little more than what's on the brochure they sent you.
My giving story started with my parents – my late mother, Frances Arrillaga, who dedicated her life to philanthropic and community service, and my father, John Arrillaga, whose daily generosity of heart, mind, and hands-on contributions make him one of the most extraordinary philanthropists I know.
As technology breaks down the physical barriers of college campuses, the extraordinary intellectual capital of the educator community is becoming available to anyone committed to learning – regardless of age, income or location.
'Giving 2.0' was born of my desire to redefine and democratize philanthropy.
Shouldn't you put the same amount of effort into your giving as you might for your for-profit investments? After all, philanthropy is an investment, and one in which lives – not profits – are at stake.
Historically, philanthropy has been something that you do when you turn 65, and you are retired, and you have spent your life accumulating your financial resources, and now you finally have time to do it. But because of the Internet revolution, that in turn revolutionized economic growth and wealth generation.
How I see my career is very much as an entrepreneur in the field of philanthropy.
'Giving 2.0' frames giving as a learning experience and encourages everyone to make giving a part of your year-round life.
By making all my materials freely available through 'Giving 2.0' ProjectU, I am on a mission to extend philanthropy education to colleges globally and far beyond campus walls.