By Shasha Raskin-Yin, Interim Executive Director, Amplifier
At Amplifier, powered by JFNA, we know how important community is to taking and sustaining action. We envision a world where everyone has the opportunity to create positive, powerful change through collaborative giving. We focus on collaboration because we know none of us have the capacity to do this alone. And we focus on giving because it takes money to make large-scale change. No one knows this better than the change-makers who attend the Collaboratory.
Amplifier supports the Jewish giving circle movement and offers accessible onramps to giving rooted in Jewish values. We know firsthand that you don’t have to be a certain kind of person or have access to wealth to give powerful, transformative gifts. You can be your own philanthropic entrepreneur and resource for the Jewish community you want to see. Here’s how:
- Talk about how and why you give. Maimonides said one should give anonymously, but that was in a world where it was assumed you knew the poor person receiving your tzedakah. Now there are 1.5 million registered 501(c)3 organizations in the US alone. It’s overwhelming! To combat isolation, share knowledge, and bring more people into giving, share how and why you give and ask others about their giving. Start a conversation with your family, share on social media, and make the conversation a part of your giving practice.
- Give together. Each of us can only give so much. Giving circles, which are a group of people who pool funds and decide together where to give, are a powerful way to learn with others and amplify your gift. If you gather ten friends who each give to a shared pool, you can grow your giving by an order of magnitude. Suddenly you’ve amplified your impact, developed new skills, learned about an issue, and built a community that keeps you accountable. Learn how to start a giving circle!
- Start with values. Whether you’re having a conversation with friends and family or trying to figure out your giving practice, start with values. Use values to find points of connection and commonality and to ensure that your giving is making the change you want to see in the world. Then get specific – what do those values look like in practice? What work do they lead you to fund? If you’re looking for an exercise on the topic, try Amplifier’s Giving Panorama.
- Get creative about resourcing an organization’s work. Partner with an organization you care about or fundraise for your own organization by bringing together a group of peers, alumni, or donors. Share key areas of work or new projects so that they can learn and opt into funding a portion of the work. Your giving circle will learn about the organization, resource it, and gain leadership skills all at the same time. Jewish Day Schools have been doing this for years with great success.
- Look for guidance in Jewish wisdom. It’s hard to figure out how much to give, where to give, and how to make your giving meaningful on your own. Luckily, Jewish sages thought about this long before we did. It can be reassuring to learn what Jewish text suggests: for example, that all Jews are obligated to give, that the suggested amount is 10%, and that you should give to Jews and those closest to you but not exclusively. Check out what else Jewish wisdom has to offer us on the topic of giving and set these ideas as guideposts or fellow voices on your giving journey.
The Collaboratory brought together leaders with big ideas and big dreams. Collaborative giving can turn those dreams into reality while being accessible, community-based, and transformative for all involved. We hope you will join us by taking these steps, giving better, and giving together.