Connecting Local to Global: Turning an individual moment into a collective movement

SVPI 07/06/2022

Throughout our network and beyond, donors are asking “How can I do more?” People feel an urgency to change the world around them and are hungry to be part of a community. But for many who give, it’s unclear what the next step is after writing a check. For those donors looking to do more, SVP provides a community unlike any other.

Recently, I had the pleasure of joining our own SVP International CEO, Sudha Nandagopal, and SVP Tucson’s CEO, Ciara Garcia, at SVP Tucson’s 15th year anniversary and Annual Partner Meeting. SVP Tucson is focused on a strategic philanthropy learning journey that deepens the relationships between their Partners and community leaders, and Sudha shared how that momentum can ripple through our global network to increase our collective impact. 

Here are a few of my reflections for the network on the highlights from the conversation between Sudha and Ciara

  • “Bringing non-profit leaders and community leaders to the table in our decision making is one of the most impactful things that’s happened for SVP Tucson’s transformation.” -Ciara Garcia, SVP Tucson’s Chief Executive Officer

I was struck by Ciara’s view of how they have transformed over the last few years. Ciara stressed that when it comes to solving our biggest challenges, proximity matters. When we at SVP ask why our current systems aren’t helping people, the answer is simple: too often the people most impacted by decisions are not making the decisions. SVP Tucson works to make sure those closest to the problem are the ones designing the solutions. Each SVP across the globe can lift up the wisdom of movement leaders and those proximal to the issues we’re trying to solve to create new opportunities instead of philanthropy as usual.

  • People are giving to things that allow the community to make decisions, like mutual aid and collective pooled giving. That’s where we are seeing individual donors saying, ‘I want to do more of that.” -Sudha Nandagopal, SVPI Chief Executive Officer

When asked about recent donor trends, Sudha reflected that donors want to fund projects that work differently from traditional philanthropy. Too often, giving money is an individual act, but donors are increasingly seeing that systems change takes a community. By offering donors a way to be part of something bigger, we can meet the growing need for people who want to do more than write a check.

  • “The best way to get to scale is by a network. It doesn’t mean that we are doing the same thing in every community. But when we are connected in our learning, and we are connected in our relationships, we are able to tackle major global challenges.” -Sudha Nandagopal, SVPI Chief Executive Officer

Sudha’s closing remarks really brought home the power of being part of a global network. SVP amplifies local solutions to create global resonance. A network allows us to scale up our best ideas across the globe – not by replicating – but by connecting and learning together to find solutions that we would not find alone. 

At SVPs around the globe, we are creating spaces where philanthropists and people with economic power can stand shoulder to shoulder to champion change with those historically overlooked by institutional philanthropy. This allows everyone who wants a role to have a role.  

When you look at your own philanthropic work, where can you support efforts to reimagine giving? Can you expand your process to include those most proximal to the issues you’re trying to solve? How can you evolve your own mindset to challenge philanthropy to evolve as a network ecosystem? How can you participate as both a learner and a teacher?

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