There’s a new kind of philanthropy taking hold across the globe. It is a multidisciplinary philanthropy infused with new levels of strategic thinking, business discipline and entrepreneurial know how. No wonder. As a new generation of entrepreneurs are being welcomed in the world of philanthropy they are asking the same questions about scale, sustainability, and effectiveness that they brought to the growth of their businesses.
They are also bringing a more hands on approach to what they view as an investment in the future. Frame their participation as a check to be written or bequest to be distributed and they are likely to tell you to take a hike. Or as my colleague Mohammed Yunus puts it; “If philanthropist means giving his own money to help others in a charitable way, I’m not your guy!”
To be clear, no one in the philanthropy community should object to traditional philanthropists writing checks. There are highly strategic, proven programs addressing our most pressing global challenges that deserve a continuous flow of targeted funding to keep them on pace.
But we need only to survey the landscape to detect the rising inequities and the pressing need for new models of philanthropy. We take one step forward with a promising program only to fall two steps back as the forces of conflict, poverty and chaos pull us back. Now, more than ever we need giving that disrupts the status quo.
In my new book Omnipreneurship, I argue that Principles, Values and Ten Golden Rules of entrepreneurship should be brought to every aspect of our lives; to family, faith, business, philanthropy and government. It heartens me to see these Golden Rules (entrepreneurial rules) alive and well in the efforts of a new wave of philanthropreneurs.
If Google.org looks and feels more like a Silicon Valley Start-up that’s because the DNA of their team is about innovation and scale. Through their Global Awards, they support the greatest minds– The Greatest Among You – that are treating the world’s most challenging issues, offering them the resources to gauge their impact. Projects awarded go from a system engineer or software code writer to an ‘Ideas Box’ that brings education to refugee camps.
Bill and Melinda Gates know that we can use Honey as Money. It’s not only about what they put into the kitty. It’s also about how they can use their clarity of focus –I Aim Therefore I Am- to attract and engage new waves of support to tackle the developing world’s most urgent problems.
At the Al Dabbagh Group we tap directly into the entrepreneurial skills sets of our business groups by challenging them to partner with grass roots NGOs in key areas ripe for innovation; Water – Sanitation – Road Safety – Housing and more. All the players in these efforts self-identify as philanthropreneurs working to unleash The Next Big Thing.
In the Clinton Global Initiative, we see the power of collaboration – Collaborate to Accelerate. Here the power of relationships and the entire community (private, public and civil society) being brought together have a multiplier effect that goes beyond single pledges. CGI is also about storytelling. Each and every organization that pledges is writing a powerful story of change. Share Your Story As we hear and see these stories become real they snowball into even bigger narrative of social change
During our inaugural Philanthropreneurship Forum we explored ways of bringing Impact Sustainability and Scale to Philanthropy. We celebrated innovators and those with entrepreneurial approaches to giving. As it turns out we were simply reflecting powerful forces of change already sweeping across our world.
At this year’s Forum we will meet Philanthropreneurs on the Frontline of Global Challenges, discuss Emerging Markets, and Emerging Solutions and Push the Boundaries to hasten the End of Philanthropy As We Know It
New Frontiers of Philanthropy are Upon Us!
You say Philanthropist – I say Philanthropreneur.
Amr Al-Dabbagh is CEO of the Al-Dabbagh Group, which operates 62 companies in 60 countries employing over 15,000 men and women around the world. Follow him on Twitter at @theomnipreneur. For more information on The Greatest Among You and the other components of Omnipreneurship, you can buy the book, Omnipreneurship, now available for Kindle and in hardback on Amazon.